Mar 25, 2022 15:09
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is protected by encryption, making counterfeiting or double spending practically impossible. Numerous cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks powered by blockchain technology—a distributed ledger maintained by a distributed network of computers. A distinguishing aspect of cryptocurrencies is that they are not issued by any central authority, which supposedly protects them against government influence or manipulation.
Cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currencies that rely on cryptographic technologies for their security. They enable safe internet transactions without using third-party brokers. The term "crypto" refers to the numerous encryption methods and cryptographic techniques used to protect these entries, including elliptical curve encryption, public-private key pairs, and hashing functions.
Cryptocurrencies can be generated through mining or acquired through cryptocurrency exchanges. Not all ecommerce cryptocurrencies accept cryptocurrency payments. Indeed, even popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are rarely utilized for retail transactions. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, have grown in popularity as trading tools as a result of their increasing value. They are also utilized for cross-border transfers to a limited degree.
Blockchain technology is critical to the attractiveness and operation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As the term "blockchain" implies, it is simply a collection of linked blocks or an online ledger. Each block comprises a collection of transactions that have been confirmed separately by each network participant. Each new block created must be validated by each node before being confirmed, making forgery of transaction histories very difficult. The online ledger's contents must be agreed upon by the complete network of an individual node, or computer that keeps a copy of the ledger.
According to experts, blockchain technology has the potential to benefit a variety of businesses and procedures, including supply chain management and online voting and crowdfunding. Financial organizations such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) are experimenting with the use of blockchain technology to reduce transaction costs through payment processing automation.
Bitcoin is the most widely used and highly valued cryptocurrency. It was conceived and introduced to the public in 2008 by a mysterious individual named Satoshi Nakamoto via a white paper. Today, the market is flooded with thousands of cryptocurrencies.
Each cryptocurrency makes a claim to have a unique purpose and specification. For instance, Ethereum's ether sells itself as gas for the platform's smart contracts. Banks utilize Ripple's XRP to enable cross-border transfers.
Bitcoin, which became publicly available in 2009, continues to be the most extensively traded and reported cryptocurrency. As of November 2021, around 18.8 million bitcoins were in circulation, with a market capitalization of over $1.2 trillion. There will never be more than 21 million bitcoins.
Following Bitcoin's breakthrough, a slew of other cryptocurrencies, dubbed "altcoins," have been established. Some of them are Bitcoin clones or forks, while others are whole new currencies. There are several of them, including Solana, Litecoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and EOS. By November 2021, the aggregate value of all existing cryptocurrencies had surpassed $2.1 trillion—Bitcoin accounting for around 41% of that amount.