What is cryptocurrency?

Crypto is exploding right now and everyone and their grandma is jumping on the bandwagon.  We are here to help you and your grandma better understand cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset that has many of the same properties of your government based currency (Fiat) such as the USD.  You can receive it and spend it.  The system that keeps track of cryptocurrency is called blockchain and it is decentralized.

Cryptocurrency Explained

The currency you use today is called Fiat and is most likely backed by the government of your country.  Most people don’t really understand or care about the fundamentals of money.  You just want to be able to acquire it and use it to buy things you want or need.

Fundamentals of how our money is created, controlled, and managed is a complex topic that I won’t pretend to completely understand, although you and I should get a better grasp of it.  More details can be found @ Understanding Money 101

Just like each country has their own currency today there are cryptocurrencies for almost every purpose you can imagine.  As of today there are over 1,300 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap.com

Each coin has a specific purpose, some being extremely useful.  Others are obviously an attempt to make money by jumping on the crypto bandwagon and copying the bitcoin code and then adding a catchy name with a new logo

Today the USD, CAD, Euro, and many other fiat currencies exist in parallel.  If you travel between countries you’ll need to exchange money from one currency to another and pay the exchange fees.

All of the cryptocurrencies also exist today in parallel.  They are global rather than regional currencies and can be sent to anyone around the world with the click of a button.

Cryptocurrency exchange

A crypto exchange is where you put your local currency and can exchange for cryptocurrencies.  There are over 170 exchanges today according to CoinMarketCap.com

I have personally used the following exchanges without any issues.

What is a Bitcoin?

It all started with a bitcoin white paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. This mysterious person or group of people is nowhere to be found now, however the vision lives on.

This white paper helped launch bitcoin and is also the basis of the entire blockchain and cryptocurrency eco-system that we have today.

How do I buy bitcoin, litecoin, or ethereum?

  • Sign-up to one of the exchanges
  • Coinbase is by far the quickest and easiest way to buy bitcoin at least in the U.S.
  • Search google play or itunes for coinbase and download it to your mobile device
  • Once signed up and completed verifications you’ll need to link your credit card or bank account
  • After that click on bicoin, litecoin, or ethereum, then buy, enter the amount in and that’s it.
  • This is an overly simplified version of how to buy any of these three popular cryptocurrencies
  • I also created a short podcast episode about buying bitcoin

 

What is an Altcoin?

Alt coins is short for alternative coins and that means every other coin than bitcoin.  Bitcoin is the grandpappy of all coins and everything else is considered a bitcoin alternative.

Some are good and some are bad.  Do your homework before investing.

Where to buy alt coins – Altcoin exchange

The most popular alts such as litecoin, ethereum, and bitcoin cash can also be purchased on coinbase.

For everything else go to CoinMarketCap.com click on the coin and then click on markets.  It provides a complete list of all exchanges the specific coin is listed on for purchasing.

Confused about Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Done reading and more confused than ever?  Don’t worry, it’s a complex subject and takes time to fully understand it.

Soak up everything you can about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.  They are not going anywhere and having knowledge never hurt anyone.

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