A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are the general name of digital currencies , alternative currencies and virtual currencies.
Crypto currencies at the time of writing have a total market cap of over $156 billion usd. coinmarketcap.com currently shows 857 currencies, 219 assets and over 5000 markets.
Bitcoin became the first decentralized cryptocurrency in 2009. Since then, numerous cryptocurrencies have been created. These are frequently called altcoins, as a blend of bitcoin or ethereum plus others that have created their own blockchains. Bitcoin and its derivatives use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money/centralized banking systems. The decentralized control is related to the use of bitcoin’s (ethereum or others) blockchain transaction database in the role of a distributed ledger. Some crypto currencies are actually classified as assets too, some even pay you to hold them almost like a dividend.
As touched on above there are many blockchains out there, but a good example of Bitcoin(or any coin with its own blockchain) and some of its Alt coins would be Bitcoin is gold, with the gold you buy one of the fiat currencies(USD,CAD,CNY,EUR). So instead we acquire bitcoin with, the bitcoin we buy one its alt coins which will represent either a country, or maybe a company, or a piece of land.
There your money that’s constantly being printed and devalued by the governments is now completely decentralized. Depending on where you put it depends on if it will be worth millions on day or totally disappear. I say this because there are many coins out there currently that really are a scam or companies that will never make it. Remember we are now in a free market.
I use bitcoin as my example because it’s so popular being first on the scene, but currently it really isn’t capable of mass adoption for daily transactions there are many others way better, as a store of value sure its good for that there is only 21 million going to be available forever after all, at the end of the day the value will be where there is actual use or where the mass majority of people put their money. It’s all about the Supply and Demand.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be made in 2009 ironically around the same time as the financial crisis which began in 2008. Created by Satoshi Nakamoto which no body knows the identity of as he remains anonymous. it is suspected he remains anonymous because he knows governments do not want crypto currencies, as they WILL disrupt the financial world and many aspects of our world today. The Blockchain its self will be adopted by many and used daily in many of our lives.
Bitcoin at the time of writing is trading for $4400 usd per coin. with a total market cap of $72 billion usd.
Ethereum unlike Bitcoin was not invented for daily transactions but rather as the fuel for the ethereum blockchain. I wont get too much into ethereum in this article but i wanted to mention it, mainly because of its use of smart contracts. Smart contracts have a real world use which is really going to help the way businesses conduct their day to day operations. At the time of writing ethereum is trading for $333 usd up from 9 dollars at the beginning of the year. A total market cap of over 31 billion usd and circulating supply of 94, 259,292.
Where exactly are cryptocurrencies going? Well time will tell, I think some will completely disappear , while some will go on to be the next apple or google of the cryptocurrency world. The only difference will be, the ones that come out on top will be worth much more than apple or google. They could become one of the largest financial assets of all time.
Charts courtesy of Trading View and coinmarketcap.com