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CRYPTO CURRENCY

CRYPTO CURRENCY

Cryptocurrency is a digital payment mechanism that does not rely on banks for transaction verification. It’s a peer-to-peer payment system that allows anybody, anywhere to send and receive money. Cryptocurrency payments exist solely as digital entries to an online database identifying specific transactions, rather than as tangible money carried around and exchanged in the real world. Transactions involving bitcoin 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 specialised coding is required in order to store and transport bitcoin data between wallets and to public ledgers. Encryption’s goal is to ensure security and safety.

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

How does cryptocurrency work?

Cryptocurrencies run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders.

Units of cryptocurrency are created through a process called mining, which involves using computer power to solve complicated mathematical problems that generate coins. Users can also buy the currencies from brokers, then store and spend those using cryptographic wallets.

If you own cryptocurrency, you don’t own anything tangible. 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 applications of blockchain technology are still emerging in financial terms, and more uses are expected in the future. Transactions including bonds, stocks, and other financial assets could eventually be traded using the technology.

Cryptocurrency examples

There are thousands of cryptocurrencies. Some of the best known include:

Bitcoin: Founded in 2009, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and is still the most commonly traded. Satoshi Nakamoto created the currency, which is commonly assumed to be a pseudonym for an individual or group of individuals whose specific identity is unknown.

Ethereum: Developed in 2015, Ethereum is a blockchain platform with its own cryptocurrency, called Ether (ETH) or Ethereum. It is the most popular cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.

 

Litecoin: This currency is most similar to Bitcoin but has moved more quickly to develop new innovations, including faster payments and processes to allow more transactions.

Ripple: Ripple is a distributed ledger system that was founded in 2012. Ripple can be used to track different kinds of transactions, not just cryptocurrency. The company behind it has worked with various banks and financial institutions.

Non-Bitcoin cryptocurrencies are collectively known as “altcoins” to distinguish them from the original

How to store cryptocurrency

Once you have purchased cryptocurrency, you need to store it safely to protect it from hacks or theft. Usually, cryptocurrency is stored in crypto wallets, which are physical devices or online software used to store the private keys to your cryptocurrencies securely. Some exchanges provide wallet services, making it easy for you to store directly through the platform. However, not all exchanges or brokers automatically provide wallet services for you.

There are different wallet providers to choose from. The terms “hot wallet” and “cold wallet” are used:

  • Hot wallet storage:“hot wallets” refer to crypto storage that uses online software to protect the private keys to your assets.
  • Cold wallet storage:Unlike hot wallets, cold wallets (also known as hardware wallets) rely on offline electronic devices to securely store your private keys.

What can you buy with cryptocurrency?

When it was first launched, Bitcoin was intended to be a medium for daily transactions, making it possible to buy everything from a cup of coffee to a computer or even big-ticket items like real estate. That hasn’t quite materialized and, while the number of institutions accepting cryptocurrencies is growing, large transactions involving it are rare. Even so, it is possible to buy a wide variety of products from e-commerce websites using crypto. Here are some examples:

Technology and e-commerce sites:

Several companies that sell tech products accept crypto on their websites, such as newegg.com, AT&T, and Microsoft. Overstock, an e-commerce platform, was among the first sites to accept Bitcoin. Shopify, Rakuten, and Home Depot also accept it.

Luxury goods: Some luxury retailers accept crypto as a form of payment. For example, online luxury retailer Bitdials offers Rolex, Patek Philippe, and other high-end watches in return for Bitcoin.

Cars: Some car dealers – from mass-market brands to high-end luxury dealers – already accept cryptocurrency as payment.

Insurance: In April 2021, Swiss insurer AXA announced that it had begun accepting Bitcoin as a mode of payment for all its lines of insurance except life insurance (due to regulatory issues). Premier Shield Insurance, which sells home and auto insurance policies in the US, also accepts Bitcoin for premium payments.

If you want to spend cryptocurrency at a retailer that doesn’t accept it directly, you can use a cryptocurrency debit card, such as BitPay in the US.

Is cryptocurrency safe?

Cryptocurrencies are usually built using blockchain technology. Blockchain describes the way transactions are recorded into “blocks” and time stamped. It’s a fairly complex, technical process, but the result is a digital ledger of cryptocurrency transactions that’s hard for hackers to tamper with.

In addition, transactions require a two-factor authentication process. For instance, you might be asked to enter a username and password to start a transaction. Then, you might have to enter an authentication code sent via text to your personal cell phone.

While securities are in place, that does not mean cryptocurrencies are un-hackable. Several high-dollar hacks have cost cryptocurrency start-ups heavily. Hackers hit Coincheck to the tune of $534 million and BitGrail for $195 million, making them two of the biggest cryptocurrency hacks of 2018.

Unlike government-backed money, the value of virtual currencies is driven entirely by supply and demand. This can create wild swings that produce significant gains for investors or big losses. And cryptocurrency investments are subject to far less regulatory protection than traditional financial products like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Four tips to invest in cryptocurrency safely

According to Consumer Reports, all investments carry risk, but some experts consider cryptocurrency to be one of the riskier investment choices out there. If you are planning to invest in cryptocurrencies, these tips can help you make educated choices.

Research exchanges:

Before you invest, learn about cryptocurrency exchanges. It’s estimated that there are over 500 exchanges to choose from. Do your research, read reviews, and talk with more experienced investors before moving forward.

Know how to store your digital currency:

If you buy cryptocurrency, you have to store it. You can keep it on an exchange or in a digital wallet. While there are different kinds of wallets, each has its benefits, technical requirements, and security. As with exchanges, you should investigate your storage choices before investing.

Diversify your investments:

Diversification is key to any good investment strategy, and this holds true when you are investing in cryptocurrency. Don’t put all your money in Bitcoin, for example, just because that’s the name you know. There are thousands of options, and it’s better to spread your investment across several currencies.

Prepare for volatility:

The cryptocurrency market is highly volatile, so be prepared for ups and downs. You will see dramatic swings in prices. If your investment portfolio or mental wellbeing can’t handle that, cryptocurrency might not be a wise choice for you.

Cryptocurrency is all the rage right now, but remember, it is still in its relative infancy and is considered highly speculative. Investing in something new comes with challenges, so be prepared. If you plan to participate, do your research, and invest conservatively to start.

One of the best ways you can stay safe online is by using a comprehensive antivirus. Kaspersky Internet Security defends you from malware infections, spyware, and data theft and protects your online payments using bank-grade encryption.