A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses cryptography as a means of security. Most cryptocurrencies operate without the need for a central authority like a bank or government, and operate instead through a distributed ledger to spread power among its community. A cryptocurrency has a set, defined monetary policy, whether it be a fixed limit of tokens or allowing the creation of new tokens based on predetermined rules.
How does it work?
The distributed ledger that holds cryptocurrency transactions is known as a blockchain. A blockchain consists of blocks, which hold individual transaction information. This information is timestamped and posted to the ledger so that each transaction can be verified by other blockchain stakeholders and never be altered. In order to conduct a transaction on the blockchain, users agree to pay a small fee, which helps maintain the security of the blockchain itself.
Let’s say you want to send your friend a small amount of Bitcoin. You create a transaction using your Bitcoin wallet and request to send Bitcoin to your friend’s wallet, agreeing to pay a nominal transaction fee along the way. After you make the transaction request, your transaction gets grouped with other transactions into a block on the Bitcoin blockchain. This block is verified by miners and posted to the blockchain, making the transaction complete.
Through this process, you can send cryptocurrency to anyone, anywhere around the world, with low transaction fees. Want to send $1 million Ethereum to your family in Brazil? Go right ahead! Not only will the transaction usually be completed in a matter of seconds or minutes, it will only cost you a fraction of the fee you would have paid using a traditional money transfer service.
What is cryptocurrency used for?
One of the early appeals of cryptocurrency was that it offers you the opportunity to transfer large amounts of your wealth anonymously without any government or institutional interference. These days, cryptocurrency is used by some owners to take care of routine matters such as paying bills. Others use it as collateral to obtain online loans.
Still others put their digital currency to use by investing in business start-ups. The combination of innovative tech ventures and cryptocurrency seems like a natural fit. You can also use your digital currency to travel the world. Arrive at your destination in the luxury vehicle you purchased with your cryptocurrency or on the airline that readily accepted your Bitcoin.