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Cryptocurrency - Here's What Everybody Should Know About It And How Does It Work

Cryptocurrency is a type of digital money that is decentralized and based on blockchain technology. Although you may be familiar with the most well-known versions, Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are over 5,000 different cryptocurrencies in circulation.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that does not rely on banks for transaction verification. It's a peer-to-peer payment system that allows anyone, anywhere to send and receive money. Cryptocurrency payments exist solely as digital entries to an online database describing specific transactions, rather than as physical money carried around and exchanged in the real world. Transactions involving cryptocurrency funds are recorded in a public ledger. Digital wallets are where cryptocurrency is kept.

The term "cryptocurrency" refers to the use of encryption to verify transactions. This means that advanced coding is required in order to store and transmit cryptocurrency data between wallets and to public ledgers. Encryption's goal is to provide security and safety.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and is still in use today. Much of the interest in cryptocurrencies is to trade for profit, with speculators at times driving prices skyward.

How Does Cryptocurrency Work?

Bitcoins on top of laptop
Bitcoins on top of laptop

Cryptocurrencies operate on a distributed public ledger known as blockchain, which keeps track of all transactions that are updated and held by currency holders.

Mining is a process that uses computer power to solve complex mathematical problems that generate coins to create cryptocurrency units. Users can also purchase the currencies from brokers and store and spend them with cryptographic wallets.

You don't own anything tangible if you own cryptocurrency. What you have is a key that allows you to transfer a record or a unit of measurement from one person to another without the assistance of a trusted third party.

Although Bitcoin has been around since 2009, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology applications are still emerging in financial terms, with more uses expected in the future. Transactions that including bonds, stocks, and other financial assets could eventually be traded using the technology.

How To Buy Cryptocurrency Safely

A woman with cloth around her head using her laptop in her office
A woman with cloth around her head using her laptop in her office

Decide Where To Buy It

There are numerous safe ways to purchase cryptocurrency, but the most accessible method for beginners is likely to be a centralized exchange. Customers can have confidence that they are getting what they pay for because centralized exchanges act as a third party overseeing transactions. These exchanges typically sell cryptocurrency at market rates and profit from fees for various aspects of their services.

If you're used to traditional brokerage accounts, there are a few online brokers that provide access to both cryptocurrencies and stocks. Robinhood, Webull, SoFi Active Investing, and TradeStation are among the online brokers reviewed by NerdWallet. Look for pure-play cryptocurrency exchanges if you're looking for an exchange that only deals in cryptocurrencies. These platforms, such as Coinbase, Gemini and Kraken, won't give you access to core assets like stocks and bonds, but they typically have a much better selection of cryptocurrencies, and more on-platform.

Choose How You'll Pay

While thousands of cryptocurrencies are traded globally, the most popular options are widely available for purchase in fiat currencies such as the US dollar. If you are a first-time buyer, you will almost certainly have to use regular money to purchase cryptocurrency.

If you're a more seasoned investor, you might consider exchanging some of your existing crypto holdings for another type of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin for Ethereum.

Add Value To Your Account

You may need to fund your account before purchasing any cryptocurrency, depending on how you choose to pay. Most exchanges accept debit and bank transfers if you're using fiat currency. Some also allow you to pay with your credit card, though this is a risky move with a volatile asset like cryptocurrency because interest costs can compound your losses if your investments lose value.

If you already have cryptocurrency, you can use it to trade by transferring it into your account from a digital wallet or another platform. Just make sure your crypto exchange supports trading between the assets you're interested in. Not all cryptocurrencies can be traded directly for one another, and some platforms have more trading options than others.

Select A Cryptocurrency

There are numerous options for cryptocurrency investors, but none are likely to be suitable for everyone. Before you buy, consider your objectives for this investment. Do you expect it to appreciate in value? Do you want to conduct transactions with cryptocurrency? Do you want to use the underlying technology through decentralized apps? These may assist you in making your decision.

How To Use Cryptocurrency For Secure Purchases

Bitcoins and dollar bills
Bitcoins and dollar bills

Using crypto to make secure purchases is dependent on what you're trying to buy. If you want to spend cryptocurrency at a store that does not accept it directly, you can use a cryptocurrency debit card, such as BitPay, in the United States.

You'll need a cryptocurrency wallet if you want to pay someone or a retailer who accepts cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency wallet is a software program that interacts with the blockchain and allows users to send and receive cryptocurrency.

To transfer money from your wallet, scan your recipient's QR code or manually enter their wallet address. Some services facilitate this by allowing you to enter a phone number or choose a contact from your phone. Keep in mind that transactions are not instantaneous as they must be validated using proof of work or proof of stake. Depending on the cryptocurrency, this may take between 10 minutes and two hours.

How To Invest In Cryptocurrency

Peer-to-peer networks and cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase and Bitfinex are places to buy cryptocurrency. However, keep an eye out for fees, as some of these exchanges charge prohibitively high fees for small crypto purchases. Coinbase, for example, charges 0.5 percent of your purchase price plus a flat fee ranging from $0.99 to $2.99, depending on the size of your transaction.

Some brokerage platforms, such as Robinhood, Webull, and eToro, allow you to invest in cryptocurrency. They allow you to trade some of the most popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, but they may have limitations, such as the inability to transfer crypto purchases off their platforms.

People Also Ask

Is Crypto A Good Investment?

Cryptocurrency may be a good investment if you're willing to accept that it's a high-risk gamble that could pay off – but also that there's a good chance you'll lose it all. Cryptocurrency prices, including bitcoin, have been falling in 2022 as a result of a global crypto price crash.

What Is The Point Of Cryptocurrency?

The main goal of cryptocurrency is to solve the problems of traditional currencies by giving currency holders power and responsibility. All cryptocurrencies follow the five properties and three functions of money. They all try to solve one or more real-world problems.

Is Crypto Real Money?

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that people use to invest in and make online purchases. You exchange real currency, such as dollars, for "coins" or "tokens" of a specific type of cryptocurrency. Work with a trusted financial advisor to create a more effective money plan.


Cryptocurrency allows us to make electronic peer-to-peer transfers without worrying about a single entity gaining too much control over the monetary system.

The benefits of cryptocurrencies are still in their infancy. Early adopters and enthusiasts will continue to extol the virtues of cryptocurrency. Pundits will continue to compare this new financial tool to existing currencies and real money. The average consumer must decide when it is appropriate to experiment with cryptocurrency in their lives.

As blockchain technology matures and useful blockchains emerge into the mainstream, the need for cryptocurrency and its place in your financial toolbox will become clear.

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