What is cryptocurrency

What Is Cryptocurrency and How Does It Work?

You may have heard about cryptocurrency on the news or from a friend, but what exactly is it? Don’t be discouraged if you don’t yet understand this new asset class. Cryptocurrencies can be challenging to comprehend if you don’t know the basics.

Let’s go over the history of this relatively new technology, an outline of its inner workings, different forms of cryptocurrencies, and where this business might go in the future to give you a better grasp of what cryptocurrency is and how it operates. You will have a much better understanding of these topics if you have some background information.


In the last decade, cryptocurrency has travelled a long and convoluted path. Even though the general public has only recently been aware of cryptocurrencies, a significant amount of work has led to this point. In truth, cryptocurrencies have a long history, dating back to when Bitcoin didn’t even exist.

Is it true that Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency?

Cryptographers had been experimenting with the concept of cryptocurrencies for decades before Bitcoin was created. The question of “what is cryptocurrency?” was still unanswered, but that didn’t stop people from trying to make their own. The most well-known of these initiatives was made by Nick Szabo, a computer scientist who created the Bit Gold cryptocurrency in 1998. Even though Bit Gold was never completely launched, it is credited with laying the groundwork for Bitcoin.

When did Bitcoin get its start?

In October of 2008, the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper. This article outlined a decentralised network that powers Bitcoin, a new cryptocurrency. It would take years for merchants to accept the new form of money as payment, but Bitcoin gradually gained traction. More cryptocurrencies will be developed on the back of Bitcoin in the following years, riding the cryptocurrency wave.

Cryptocurrencies are now available all around the world.

By 2014, there were dozens of cryptocurrencies on the market. Some, like Ethereum, would continue to grow and thrive over time, while others would fall bankrupt almost as soon as they were created. When 2017 rolled around, cryptocurrency had emerged as the financial world’s beloved new speciality, heralded as a saviour from the “corrupt” banking system. On new trading platforms, they were bought and traded. Hundreds of tokens, or cryptocurrencies, had been generated, rapidly increasing their value. Bitcoin’s price has soared from $900 to $20,000 by the end of 2017, valuing the entire sector at $600 billion. Cryptocurrencies were here to stay by 2018.

What exactly is a cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is protected by encryption. Most cryptocurrencies function without the need for a central authority such as a bank or government instead of relying on a distributed ledger to divide power among their users. A cryptocurrency has a specified monetary policy, such as a fixed token limit or the ability to create new tokens according to predefined regulations.

What is the mechanism behind it?

A blockchain is a distributed ledger that stores bitcoin transactions. A blockchain is made up of blocks that hold individual transaction data. This data is timestamped and added to the blockchain ledger to confirm each transaction by other blockchain participants and never change. Users agree to pay a small charge to execute a blockchain transaction, which helps preserve the network’s security.

Imagine you wish to transmit a tiny quantity of Bitcoin to a friend. You establish a transaction in your Bitcoin wallet and request that Bitcoin be sent to your friend’s wallet for a small transaction fee. Once you submit the transaction request, your transaction is combined with other transactions into a block on the Bitcoin blockchain. Miners verify this block and add it to the blockchain, completing the transaction.

You can send cryptocurrency to anyone, anywhere globally, with low transaction fees using this method. Do you want to give your Brazilian relatives $1 million in Ethereum? Go ahead and do it! The transaction will be done in a matter of seconds or minutes, but it will also cost you a fraction of what a regular money transfer service would.

What is the purpose of cryptocurrency?

One of the early draws of bitcoin was that it allowed you to send enormous quantities of money anonymously, without the involvement of any government or institution. Some owners are now using cryptocurrencies to take care of everyday tasks such as paying bills. Others use it as a form of security for online loans.

Others put their digital money to work by investing in new businesses. The marriage of cutting-edge technology and cryptocurrencies appears to be a perfect fit. You can also travel the world with your digital cash. Arrive at your destination in a luxury vehicle purchased with Bitcoin or on a flight where Bitcoin was freely accepted.

What is cryptocurrency mining, and how does it work?

The reward for confirming transactions on a blockchain is referred to as cryptocurrency mining. When a transaction is added to a block on the blockchain, it is encrypted. As a result, before the blockchain can continue adding transactions to the next block, these transactions must be checked for accuracy. This is where the miners enter the picture. To verify transactions in a block on the blockchain, miners utilise their processing capacity to solve complicated mathematical problems. The miner that solves the challenge and verifies all of the transactions in a block is paid for their efforts. Proof of work is a technique for securing a blockchain (POW).

What is cryptocurrency mining, and how does it work?

Do you think you’re ready to mine cryptocurrencies for a living? Do not turn on your computer just yet. Nowadays, mining quickly enough to solve the puzzle before other miners and obtain a cryptocurrency reward necessitates specialised and expensive computer technology. In fact, entire businesses are built around mining cryptocurrencies and profiting from profits.

What is the appeal of cryptocurrency?

There is a new manner of dealing and holding wealth using bitcoin that is superior to traditional cash and gold. Cryptocurrencies outperform traditional currencies in several key areas:

The currency’s portability refers to how easily it can be carried.

Divisibility – The ability to divide money into smaller sums.

Censorship Resistance – A government’s or regime’s ability to censor its use.

Scarcity – how common it is in society and how long it will last

Security refers to how safe it is to use.

Backing — Who is supporting the currency’s legitimacy?

Gold Fiat currency Cryptocurrency


High Medium Low

Divisibility High Medium Low

Resistance to censorship is low, high, and low.

Scarcity High Low High

Security High Medium Medium

Governments are supporting cryptography and mathematics in the global economy.

Nations can print and restrict money printing as they like with fiat currencies, causing the value to fluctuate occasionally. Cryptocurrencies may be better for holding value than fiat currency for those living in nations with hyperinflation and unstable economies. Cryptocurrencies have a predetermined monetary policy that cannot be altered by anyone, regardless of their identity. For example, there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins ever created. Knowing this gives you a sense of security that you won’t get from fiat currency’s monetary policy.

Cryptocurrencies are also easier to move and divide than traditional currency. Instead of carrying pounds of gold or large wads of cash, cryptocurrencies are simply bits of data used to keep track of transactions and values. These can traverse any border without being censored and can even be divided into fractions of a penny if necessary.

What makes cryptocurrencies valuable?

Some people find it unusual that cryptocurrencies have value because most of them are not officially issued by a sovereign nation. On the other hand, the mistake is linked to a misunderstanding of what currency is. Simply put, currency is anything agreed upon by buyers and sellers to be used as a medium of trade.

Cryptocurrency has enough investors and traders to make it a desirable type of currency for individuals worldwide.

Is cryptocurrency a safe investment?

Let’s take a look at two different areas of bitcoin security: investing and storage.

Of course, bitcoin, like any other investment, includes risk. Cryptocurrency gains and losses, on the other hand, tend to happen considerably faster than typical currency investments. Because of Bitcoin’s volatility, successful traders and investors have amassed digital fortunes. On the other hand, others were not so fortunate and swiftly lost their money.

Once you’ve obtained digital money, you’ll want to store it safely in a wallet, which is a crypto storage device. To remain ahead of 21st-century digital burglars, the encryption technology used by these storage devices to keep your money safe is continually evolving.

Cryptocurrency types

You might be perplexed as to how cryptocurrencies have any value at all. To comprehend this, you must first understand the many sorts of cryptocurrencies available. Each of these cryptocurrencies has its own intrinsic worth, so comparing and contrasting cryptocurrencies with diverse functionalities is inaccurate.

Bitcoin is a fiat cryptocurrency.

Fiat money is a form of currency that has no intrinsic worth in and of itself but is set as a medium of trade by the general population. What is a fiat cryptocurrency, then, if this is the case?

Cryptocurrencies were designed to be used as a store of value and a medium of exchange at first. These digital currencies were the first use of cryptocurrencies, represented by some of the industry’s earliest projects. Fiat cryptocurrencies do not attempt to accomplish anything other than produce a cheaper, more decentralised, and easier-to-use form of currency than fiat currencies.

The following are examples of fiat cryptocurrencies:

Bitcoin (BTC) is the first fiat cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin but has some technological differences.

Litecoin — Known as the “silver” to Bitcoin’s “gold,”

Monero is a cryptocurrency that gives users more anonymity and security.


Stablecoins, unlike fiat cryptocurrencies, which produce their own form of money, are linked to the price of another item (or collection of assets) to reduce volatility while retaining the benefits of a cryptocurrency. The argument for stablecoins is that, while fiat cryptocurrencies are superior to fiat currency in terms of mobility, security, and anonymity, they are unusable due to price volatility.

Tether is the most well-known stablecoin, with a price tethered to the US dollar. Users can transact or retain their assets in Tether, a cryptocurrency whose value is connected to a stable asset, the US dollar.

Tokens of utility

Several cryptocurrencies are used to fuel commerce and other services on a blockchain network. These utility tokens aren’t necessarily cashed in and of themselves, but they do have monetary worth because they have a predetermined use that is in demand.

The following are some of the most popular utility tokens:

On the Ethereum blockchain, Ether is used to pay for computational power.

XRP – Allows any digital asset to be transferred on the Ripple blockchain.

EOS — Like Ether, EOS is used to carry out tasks on a distributed network.

What does the future of cryptocurrencies look like?

Is there any chance that cryptocurrencies will continue to grow? No one can say for sure what the solution is. Still, you can rest comfortably that cryptocurrencies will have a role in the global economy as long as there are use cases for them and they benefit over fiat currencies.

To begin with, cashless and mobile payments will continue to rise in popularity around the world, supporting bitcoin growth and usage. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, will see their technology progress and application cases expand, causing many retailers to accept cryptocurrencies as payment. Utility tokens will face their own struggle to persuade authorities that they are not securities, while stablecoins will demonstrate that cryptocurrency transactions are cheaper and faster than money.

The major problem with cryptocurrencies is how simple they are to use. To use cryptocurrencies to their full potential today, technological competence is still required. Cryptocurrency products will become easier to use for the typical consumer with little to no technical understanding as more projects and developers work on user interface and design. Once this occurs, keep an eye on cryptocurrencies since there will be no limit to how high they can rise.

What are the options for spending cryptocurrency?

You may use cryptocurrency to make purchases in addition to transferring money. As more retailers recognise the benefit of giving a wider variety of payment alternatives, the list of products you can buy with digital currency grows.

People have used cryptocurrencies to buy everything from high-end real estate to pizza (services like Pizzaforcoins allow you to order from Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s). In fact, the first Bitcoin transaction was for two pizzas at the cost of 10,000 bitcoins.

You can even use Bitcoin to pay for a space flight with Virgin Galactic. If you prefer a more practical way of life, you may now spend cryptocurrencies at online merchants such as Overstock.com.

For a more detailed look into Cryptocurrencies please take a look at our Cryptocurrency Essentials course, which covers everything you need to know about Cryptos.

Scroll to Top