Cryptocurrency 101

Cryptocurrency. If you aren’t familiar, it seems aptly named for its cryptic nature. It turns out that once you lift the veil on this new form of tender, it isn’t as intimidating as it seems.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Most appealing, it is generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

What types of cryptocurrency are there?

There are over 6,700 different cryptocurrencies out there, but the leading few are definitely a step above the rest. Bitcoin, perhaps the most recognizable name of all the currencies, has a $1.2 trillion market capitalization and is at the top of the crypto game. Bitcoin is followed by Ethereum at $263.4 billion and Binance Coin at $87 billion.

How was cryptocurrency created?

If you’re wondering why Bitcoin is so far ahead of the curve, it might have something to do with being the original cryptocurrency. It was created back in 2009 by a programmer, or possibly a group of programmers, that remain pseudonymous. They are known only by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. A few years after its creation, Nakamoto mysteriously disappeared. There have been many rumors arguing whether Nakamoto disappeared on purpose or not. Since its release Bitcoin has grown immensely, both in value and popularity. Due to its dramatic rise in value, it brought cryptocurrency to the mainstream market.

Is cryptocurrency legal?

With such an odd background and a reputation for underground use, it’s only natural to begin to question the legality of cryptocurrency. There’s no question that it’s legal in the United States, though China has essentially banned their use. Ultimately whether they’re legal depends on each individual country.

How do you buy cryptocurrency?

If you’re looking to buy in yourself, there are a few online brokerages and exchanges that have taken the lead in the industry. For a good one stop shop, Coinbase is user friendly and gives consumers access to more than 30 types of cryptocurrencies. eToro has access to 15 types and Robinhood focuses primarily on the heavy hitters like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum.

How do you spend cryptocurrency?

If you’re ready to spend your new digicoin, there are some big name companies out there who are more than willing to take your cyber money. Microsoft, AT&T, Overstock, Twitch, and even some fast food chains like Burger King, KFC, and Subway are all accepting the cryptocurrency BitCoin.

What’s in store for the cryptocurrency future?

Cryptocurrency has come a long way since its birth in 2009, advancing at a light-speed pace. The future of cryptocurrency and its associated technology appears bright, judging by the growth and adoption seen since Nakamoto published the framework for a little asset called Bitcoin. As the trust and validity of cryptocurrency increases, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll be seeing it as a payment option at more and more businesses. In addition, post-pandemic standards and the massive success of E-commerce will continue to push digital solutions and convenience. Cryptocurrency falls right in line with that path.

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