Cryptocurrency facts takes a simplified look at digital currencies like Bitcoin to help explain what cryptocurrency is, how it works, and its implications. On this site, we cover everything you need to know about:
- Cryptocurrency basics and the history of digital currency
- Types of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum
- Cryptocurrency exchanges / brokers like Coinbase, GDAX, ShapeShift, and Kraken
- Trading cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency investing
- Cryptocurrency transactions, wallets, blockchains, fees, order types, etc
- Cryptocurrency mining (including a guide to mining Litecoin in 30 minutes or less)
- Cryptocurrency legality, taxes, and regulations
- Up-to-date news regarding cryptocurrency
- Expert tips for seasoned cryptocurrency miners and users
- And generally everything the average person would want to know about digital currency
This video discusses bitcoin, but most of what they talk about here is common between all cryptocurrencies. We suggest watching this video before moving on as it gives what we consider to be one of the best explanations of bitcoin available on the internet.
What is Cryptocurrency?
As of 2017, cryptocurrency has been used as a decentralized alternative to traditional fiat currencies (which are usually backed by some central government) such as the US dollar (USD).
For the average person using cryptocurrency is as easy as:
- Get a digital wallet to store the currency.
- Use the wallet to create unique “public addresses” to receive currency.
- Transfer funds in or out of your wallet using public addresses.
What is a cryptocurrency address?: A public address is a unique string of characters used to receive cryptocurrency. Each public address has a matching private address that can be used to prove ownership of the public address. With Bitcoin the address is called a Bitcoin address. Think of it like a unique email address that people can send currency to as opposed to emails.
The History of Cryptocurrency
The first decentralized digital cryptocurrency can be traced back to “Bit Gold”, which was worked on by Nick Szabo between 1998 and 2005. Bit gold is considered the first precursor to bitcoin. In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto (an anonymous person and/or group) released a paper detailing what would become Bitcoin.
Bitcoin became the first decentralized digital coin when it was created in 2008. It then went public in 2009. As of 2017, Bitcoin is the most commonly known and used cryptocurrency (with other coins like Ethereum and Litecoin also being notable). Given the popularity of Bitcoin as well as its history, the term “altcoin” is sometimes used to describe alternative cryptocurrencies to bitcoin (especially coins with small market caps).
As of January 2015, there were over 500 different types of cryptocurrencies – or altcoins – for trade in online markets. However, only 10 of them had market capitalizations over $10 million.
As of September 2017, there were over 1,100 cryptocurrencies and the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies reached an all-time high surpassing $60 billion!
In other words, although the future is uncertain, cryptocurrency seems to be more than just a fad. Here in 2017 cryptocurrency is shaping up a growing market that (despite its pros and cons) is likely here for the long haul.
On this site, we explore every aspect of cryptocurrency. Simply choose a page from the menu, visit our “what is cryptocurrency” page for a more detailed explanation of cryptocurrency, or jump right in to the “how cryptocurrency works” section to start learning about transactions, mining, and public ledgers.