What is cryptocurrency and how does it work?

Cryptocurrency – meaning and definition

Cryptocurrency, sometimes called cryptocurrency or crypto, is any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions. Cryptocurrencies do not have a central issuing or regulatory authority, instead using a decentralized system to record transactions and issue new units.

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What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that does not rely on banks to verify transactions. It is a peer-to-peer system that can allow anyone anywhere to send and receive payments. Instead of being physical money transported and exchanged in the real world, cryptocurrency payments exist simply as digital entries to an online database that describes specific transactions. When you transfer cryptocurrency funds, the transactions are recorded in a public ledger. Cryptocurrency is stored in digital wallets.

The cryptocurrency got its name because it uses encryption to verify transactions. This means that advanced encryption is involved in the storage and transmission of cryptocurrency data between wallets and public ledgers. The purpose of encryption is to provide security and protection.

The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which was founded in 2009 and is still the best known today. Much of the interest in cryptocurrencies is trading for profit, with speculators sometimes driving prices through the roof.


How does cryptocurrency work?

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

Cryptocurrency units are created through a process called mining, which involves using the power of a computer to solve complicated mathematical problems that generate coins. Users can also buy the coins from brokers, then store and spend them using crypto wallets.

If you own cryptocurrency, you don't own anything tangible. What you have is a key that allows you to move a record or unit of measure from one person to another without a trusted third party.

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

examples of cryptocurrencies

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


Founded in 2009, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and is still the most traded. The currency was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto, who is believed to be a pseudonym for an individual or group of people whose precise identity is unknown.


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.


This currency is more similar to bitcoin, but has moved faster to develop new innovations, including faster payments and processes to enable more transactions.


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

Cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin are collectively known as "altcoins" to distinguish them from the original.

How to buy cryptocurrencies

You may be wondering how to buy cryptocurrencies safely. There are usually three steps involved. These are:

Step 1: Choose a platform

The first step is to decide which platform to use. In general, you can choose between a traditional broker or a dedicated cryptocurrency exchange:

traditional corridors. These are online brokers that offer ways to buy and sell cryptocurrencies as well as other financial assets like stocks, bonds, and ETFs. These platforms tend to offer lower trading costs but fewer crypto features.

Cryptocurrency exchanges. There are many cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from, each offering different cryptocurrencies, wallet storage, interest-bearing account options, and more. Many exchanges charge asset-based fees.

When comparing different platforms, consider what cryptocurrencies are offered, what fees they charge, their security features, storage and withdrawal options, and any educational resources.

Step 2: Fund your account

Once you have chosen your platform, the next step is to fund your account so you can start trading. Most cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to purchase cryptocurrencies using fiat (i.e., government-issued) currencies such as the US dollar, British pound, or Euro using their debit or credit cards, although this varies by platform. .

Cryptocurrency purchases with credit cards are considered risky and are not supported by some exchanges. Some credit card companies also do not allow crypto transactions. This is because cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and it is not advisable to risk going into debt, or potentially paying high credit card transaction fees, for certain assets.

Some platforms will also accept ACH transfers and wire transfers. Accepted payment methods and the time required for deposits or withdrawals differ by platform. Similarly, the time it takes for deposits to clear varies depending on the payment method.

One important factor to consider is fees. These include possible deposit and withdrawal transaction fees plus trading fees. Fees will vary by payment method and platform, which is something to research early on.

Step 3: Place an order

You can place an order through the web or mobile platform of your broker or exchange. If you plan to buy cryptocurrency, you can do so by selecting "buy", choosing the type of order, entering the amount of cryptocurrency you wish to buy and confirming the order. The same process applies to "sell" orders.

There are also other ways to invest in cryptocurrencies. These include payment services like PayPal, Cash App, and Venmo, which allow users to buy, sell, or hold cryptocurrencies. In addition, there are the following investment vehicles:

Bitcoin Trusts – You can buy Bitcoin Trust shares with a regular brokerage account. These vehicles provide retail investors with exposure to cryptocurrencies through the stock market.

Bitcoin Mutual Funds: There are Bitcoin ETFs and Bitcoin mutual funds to choose from.

Blockchain Stocks or ETFs: You can also indirectly invest in cryptocurrencies through blockchain companies that specialize in the technology behind cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency transactions. Alternatively, you can buy stocks or ETFs from companies that use blockchain technology.

The best option for you will depend on your investment objectives and risk appetite.

How to store cryptocurrencies

Once you have purchased the cryptocurrency, you must store it securely to protect it from hacking or theft. Cryptocurrencies are typically stored in crypto wallets, which are physical devices or online software used to store the private keys of 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 you with wallet services.

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

Hot wallet storage: "hot wallets" refers to cryptographic storage that uses online software to protect the private keys of 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.

Typically, cold wallets tend to charge fees while hot wallets do not.

What can be bought with cryptocurrencies?

When it was first launched, Bitcoin was meant to be a medium for everyday transactions, making it possible to buy everything from a cup of coffee to a computer or even expensive items like real estate. That hasn't quite materialized, and while the number of institutions accepting cryptocurrencies is growing, large transactions involving them 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 technology products accept cryptocurrencies on their websites, such as newegg.com, AT&T, and Microsoft. Overstock, an e-commerce platform, was one of the first sites to accept Bitcoin. Shopify, Rakuten, and Home Depot also accept it.

Luxury articles:

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


Some car dealerships, from mass-market brands to high-end luxury dealerships, already accept cryptocurrencies as payment.


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

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

Cryptocurrency scams and cryptocurrency scams

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Unfortunately, crypto crime is on the rise. Cryptocurrency scams include:

Fake Websites – Fake sites featuring fake testimonials and crypto jargon promising massive guaranteed profits, as long as you keep investing.

Virtual Ponzi Schemes: Cryptocurrency criminals promote non-existent opportunities to invest in digital currencies and create the illusion of huge profits by paying old investors with new investors' money. One scam operation, BitClub Network, raised more than $700 million before its perpetrators were indicted in December 2019.

“Celebrity” endorsements – Online scammers pose as billionaires or household names who promise to multiply your investment in a virtual currency, but instead steal what you send. They can also use messaging apps or chat rooms to start rumors that a famous businessman is endorsing a specific cryptocurrency. Once they have encouraged investors to buy and pushed the price up, the scammers sell their stake and the value of the coin declines.

Romance Scams: The FBI is warning of a trend in online dating scams, where scammers persuade people they meet on dating apps or social media to invest or trade virtual currency. The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center filed more than 1,800 reports of cryptocurrency-focused romance scams in the first seven months of 2021, with losses reaching $133 million.

Otherwise, scammers can pose as legitimate virtual currency traders or set up fake exchanges to trick people into giving them money. Another crypto scam involves fraudulent sales pitches for cryptocurrency individual retirement accounts. Then there is direct cryptocurrency hacking, where criminals break into digital wallets where people store their virtual currency in order to steal it.

Is cryptocurrency safe?

Cryptocurrencies are generally built using blockchain technology. Blockchain describes the way transactions are recorded in "blocks" and are time stamped. It is a fairly complex technical process, but the result is a digital ledger of cryptocurrency transactions that is difficult for hackers to manipulate.

Additionally, transactions require a two-factor authentication process. For example, you may be required to enter a username and password to initiate a transaction. You may then need to enter an authentication code texted to your personal cell phone.

While values ​​exist, that doesn't mean cryptocurrencies can't be hacked. Several high-value hacks have cost crypto startups dearly. Hackers attacked Coincheck to the tune of $534 million and BitGrail to the tune of $195 million, making them two of the biggest cryptocurrency hacks of 2018.

Unlike government-backed money, the value of virtual currencies depends entirely on supply and demand. This can create wild swings that result in significant gains for investors or large 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 cryptocurrencies safely

According to Consumer Reports, all investments carry risk, but some experts consider cryptocurrencies to be one of the riskiest investment options out there. If you plan to invest in cryptocurrencies, these tips can help you make informed decisions.

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Research exchanges:

Before you invest, find out about cryptocurrency exchanges. It is estimated that there are more than 500 exchanges to choose from. Do your research, read reviews and talk to more experienced investors before moving forward.

Learn how to store your digital currency:

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

Diversify your investments:

Diversification is key to any good investment strategy, and this is true when investing in cryptocurrencies. 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 best to spread your investment over multiple currencies.

Prepare for volatility:

The cryptocurrency market is very volatile, so be prepared for ups and downs. You will see drastic changes in prices. If your investment portfolio or mental well-being can't handle that, cryptocurrencies may not be a good fit 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 to stay safe online is by using a full antivirus. Kaspersky Internet Security defends you from malware infections, spyware, data theft, and protects your online payments with bank-grade encryption.

4 Common Cryptocurrency Scams and How to Avoid Them

As you get involved in the new digital monetary mechanisms known as cryptocurrencies, it doesn't take long to recognize the risk involved in these transactions. And we're not talking about market volatility. Scams are everywhere online, and cryptocurrency exchanges are no different. When considering investing in different startups and exchanges, keep in mind the chances of losing your cryptocurrency investments.

When searching for digital cryptocurrency companies and startups, experts recommend that you confirm that they are blockchain-powered, meaning they track detailed transaction data. Also, check that they have solid business plans that solve real problems. Companies must specify the liquidity of their digital currency and the ICO rules. There must be real people behind the company. If the startup you're researching lacks some of these characteristics, think about your decision even more carefully.

Here's a look at the most common scams and ways to avoid becoming a victim as you join the exciting future of cryptocurrencies.

1- Imposter websites

It is possible that you are following solid advice from someone with a lot of experience, but still become a victim by accidentally visiting a fake website. There are a surprising number of websites that have been set up to look like genuine, valid startups. If there isn't a little lock icon indicating security near the URL bar and there's no "https" in the site address, think twice.

Even if the site looks identical to the one you think you are visiting, it may redirect you to another payment gateway. For example, you click on a link that appears to be on a legitimate site, but the attackers have created a fake URL with a zero instead of the letter "o". That platform, of course, does not lead you to the cryptocurrency investment you have already researched. To avoid this, carefully type the exact URL in your browser. Check it too.

2- Fake mobile apps

Another common way scammers trick crypto investors is through fake apps available for download through Google Play and the Apple App Store. Although stakeholders can often quickly find these fake apps and remove them, that doesn't mean the apps don't have an impact on many results. Thousands of people have already downloaded fake cryptocurrency apps, Bitcoin News reports.

While this is a bigger risk for Android users, all investors should be aware of the possibility. Are there obvious misspellings in the copy or even the name of the app? Does the brand look fake with weird colors or the wrong logo? Take note and reconsider downloading.

3- Bad tweets and other social media updates

If you follow celebrities and executives on social media, you can't be sure you're not following impostor accounts. The same applies to cryptocurrencies, where malicious bots impersonating them are rampant. Do not trust offers that come from Twitter or Facebook, especially if it seems that there is an impossible result. Fake accounts are everywhere.

If someone on these platforms asks for even a small amount of your cryptocurrency, it is likely that he will never be able to get it back. Just because others respond to the offer, don't assume they aren't bots either. You have to be very careful.

4- Fraudulent emails

Even if it looks exactly like an email you received from a legitimate cryptocurrency company, be careful before investing your digital currency. Is the email exactly the same and the logo and branding identical? Can you verify that the email address is legitimately connected to the company? The ability to verify this is one of the reasons why it is important to choose a company that has real people working for it. If you have questions about an email, ask someone who works there. And never click on a link in a message to get to a site.

Scammers often advertise fake ICOs, or initial coin offerings, as a way to steal substantial funds. Don't be fooled by these fake email and website offers. Take your time to review all the details.

Unfortunately, there are many ways that some Internet users take advantage of unsecured computer systems to mine or steal cryptocurrencies. Learn more about how to stay safe and protect yourself in this emerging market before you start investing in cryptocurrencies.

Is cryptocurrency a good investment?

Investing in virtual currency has produced staggering returns for some, but the field still comes with risks.

It is possible to become incredibly rich investing in cryptocurrencies in 2022, but you could also lose all your money. Investing in crypto assets is risky but also potentially extremely profitable.

Cryptocurrency is a good investment if you want to gain direct exposure to digital currency demand. A safer but potentially less lucrative alternative is to buy shares of companies with exposure to cryptocurrencies.

Let's examine the pros and cons of investing in cryptocurrencies.

Is cryptocurrency safe?

Several factors make cryptocurrency a not entirely safe investment. However, other signs are emerging that cryptocurrency is here to stay.

Cryptocurrency risks

Cryptocurrency exchanges, more than stock exchanges, are vulnerable to being hacked and becoming targets of other criminal activities. Security breaches have led to considerable losses for investors who have had their digital currencies stolen, prompting many exchanges and third-party insurers to start offering protection against hackers.

Safe cryptocurrency storage is also more difficult than owning stocks or bonds. Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) make it quite easy to buy and sell crypto assets like Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) and Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH), but many people don't like to hold their digital assets on exchanges. due to the risks of allowing any company to control access to its assets.

Storing cryptocurrencies on a centralized exchange means that you do not have full control over your assets. An exchange could freeze your assets based on a government request, or the exchange could go bankrupt and you would have no recourse to get your money back.

Some cryptocurrency owners prefer offline “cold storage” options like hardware wallets, but cold storage comes with its own set of challenges. The biggest is the risk of losing your private key; without a key, it is impossible to access your cryptocurrency.

There is also no guarantee that a crypto project you invest in will be successful. Competition is fierce among thousands of blockchain projects, and many projects are nothing more than scams. Only a small percentage of cryptocurrency projects will ultimately prosper.

Regulators can also crack down on the entire cryptocurrency industry, especially if governments view cryptocurrencies as a threat rather than an innovative technology.

The cutting-edge technological elements of cryptocurrencies also increase the risks for investors. Much of the technology is still being developed and has not yet been extensively tested in real-world scenarios.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor Motley Fool's $5 million crypto stake. Read more "

Cryptocurrency adoption

Despite the risks, the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry is going strong. Much-needed financial infrastructure is being built, and investors are increasingly able to access institutional-grade custody services. Professional and individual investors are gradually getting the tools they need to manage and safeguard their crypto assets.

Crypto futures markets are being established and many companies are gaining direct exposure to the cryptocurrency sector. Financial giants like Block (NYSE:SQ) and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) are making it easier to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on their popular platforms. Other companies, including Block, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin and other digital assets. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin in early 2021. By February 2022, the electric vehicle maker reported holding nearly $2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies. MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR), a business intelligence software company, has been hoarding Bitcoin since 2020. It held $5.7 billion worth of the cryptocurrency by the end of 2021 and said it plans to buy more with excess cash generated from trading.

Although other factors still affect the risk of cryptocurrencies, the increasing pace of adoption is a sign of an industry that is maturing. Individual investors and companies seek to gain direct exposure to cryptocurrencies, considering them safe enough to invest large sums of money.

Is crypto a good long-term investment?

Many cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are launched with lofty goals, which can

be achieved over long time horizons. While the success of any cryptocurrency project is by no means assured, early investors in a cryptocurrency project that achieves its goals can reap huge rewards in the long run.

However, for any cryptocurrency project, it needs to achieve widespread adoption for it to be considered a long-term success.

Bitcoin as a long-term investment

Bitcoin, as the most well-known cryptocurrency, benefits from the network effect: more people want to own Bitcoin because Bitcoin is owned by the majority of people. Bitcoin is currently seen by many investors as "digital gold", but it could also be used as a digital form of cash.

Bitcoin investors believe that the cryptocurrency will gain value in the long run because the supply is fixed, unlike the supply of fiat currencies like the US dollar or Japanese yen. The Bitcoin supply is capped at less than 21 million coins, while most coins can be printed at the will of central bankers. Many investors expect Bitcoin to gain in value as fiat currencies depreciate.

Those who are optimistic about the extensive use of Bitcoin as digital cash believe that it has the potential to become the first truly global currency.

Ethereum as a long-term investment

Ether is the native currency of the Ethereum platform and can be purchased by investors who wish to gain portfolio exposure to Ethereum. While Bitcoin can be seen as digital gold, Ethereum is building a global computing platform that supports many other cryptocurrencies and a massive ecosystem of decentralized applications ("dApps").

The large number of cryptocurrencies built on the Ethereum platform, in addition to the open source nature of dApps, creates opportunities for Ethereum to also benefit from the network effect and create long-term sustainable value. The Ethereum platform allows the use of "smart contracts", which are executed automatically based on the terms written directly in the contract code.

The Ethereum network collects Ether from users in exchange for running smart contracts. Smart contract technology has significant potential to disrupt massive industries like real estate and banking and also create entirely new markets.

As the Ethereum platform is used more and more around the world, the Ether token is increasing in utility and value. Investors optimistic about the long-term potential of the Ethereum platform can directly benefit from owning Ether.

That is not to say that Ethereum has no competition. Several "Ethereum killers", including Solana (CRYPTO:SOL), Polygon (CRYPTO:MATIC), and Avalanche (CRYPTO:AVAX), are designed to handle smart contracts and use a blockchain system capable of processing more transactions per second. . . The speed has the added benefit of being less expensive for users as well. But Ethereum is the most widely adopted platform for the use of smart contracts.

Should you invest in cryptocurrencies?

Owning any cryptocurrency can increase the diversification of your portfolio, as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have historically shown little price correlation with the US stock market. time, then it probably makes sense for you to buy some crypto outright as part of a diversified portfolio. For every cryptocurrency you invest in, make sure you have an investment thesis on why that coin will stand the test of time. By researching and learning as much as possible about investing in cryptocurrencies, you should be able to manage investment risk as part of your overall portfolio.

If buying crypto seems too risky, you can consider other ways to potentially profit from the crypto boom. You can buy shares of companies like Coinbase, Block, and PayPal, or you can invest in an exchange like CME Group (NASDAQ:CME), which makes it easy to trade crypto futures. Although investments in these companies can be profitable, they do not have the same growth potential as investing directly in cryptocurrencies.

Expert Q&A

The Motley Fool sought insights on blockchain from three finance experts: Dr. Christine Parlour, Sylvan C. Coleman Professor and Chair of Finance and Accounting at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley; Dr. Jimmie Lenz, director of the Master of Engineering in FinTech and Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity at Duke University; and Dr. Merav Ozair, a leading blockchain expert and professor of FinTech at Rutgers Business School.

Bitcoin vs Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin is the digital currency that uses the cryptocurrency and is controlled by the decentralized authority that is not like the currencies issued by the government, while the cryptocurrency refers to the technology that acts as a means to facilitate the realization of the different financial transactions that they are safe and secure.

Differences of Bitcoin vs Cryptocurrency

Basis for comparison between Bitcoin vs Cryptocurrency



Main Aim

To simplify and increase the speed of transactions without much of government restrictions.

To provide low cost, safe and secure transactions.


Bitcoin is limited to trading by using it as a currency.

There are a lot of cryptocurrencies that are used for trading as well.


Bitcoin is the most popular bitcoin.

The number of cryptocurrencies has increased but their share is still less than Bitcoin.


Bitcoin focuses on lowering the cost of influencers and reduce the time of transactions but is less flexible,

Cryptocurrency aims at the exchange of goods and services is a safe and secure environment with very little or no government and middleman interference.


Bitcoin likes to be anonymous and hence even though we can see their transactions in the ledger, they are meaningless numbers that are not in any particular sequence.

A lot of cryptocurrencies that came recently are following transparency in their transactions and hence they are able to work with a lot of other industries.

We have come to the dawn of a new era where we now have a global currency that is helping businesses around the world to transact safely with low transaction costs and also in a very limited period of time.

Surely bitcoin vs cryptocurrency would have remained a dream if we were only considering creating a traditional currency that does the above things in this global economy.

It is the introduction of these digital currencies/cryptocurrencies

 that we can even think of such a possibility. The introduction of the common digital currency

 that it can be used to transact without the interference of stringent government regulations and without bank intermediaries that make transactions go through days with huge transaction fees is a huge boon in disguise for businesses that rely on international transactions.

Bitcoin vs Cryptocurrency Infographic

Here we provide you with the top 5 differences between Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies.

What do you mean by Bitcoin technology?

Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency that was founded by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. It started as an open source software to transfer money.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that can also be referred to as a cryptocurrency and was created primarily to speed up cross-border transactions, reduce government control over the transaction, and simplify the entire process without having third-party intermediaries. Not having intermediaries has significantly lowered transaction costs.

Bitcoin is not a formally accepted means of payment in all countries, but it is used by people all over the world for various types of transactions. Since it is not physically present, it should be very secure and one of the best ways to do this is through Blockchain.

Blockchain, being a distributed ledger, provides a low-cost and secure environment for peer-to-peer transactions to take place and provides the information to the public so that anyone can access and view the financial transaction that has been made.

What do you mean by cryptocurrency technology?

Cryptocurrency is the technology that acts as a means to carry out financial transactions.

From the creation of units to the final verification of the transaction being made, cryptocurrency provides that secure platform for transactions with the help of cryptographic technology.

Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that is virtual and does not have a physical form. It works with a decentralized control that does not have any central banking system. This makes it easy for cryptocurrencies to work with distributed ledgers.

With distributed ledgers providing peer-to-peer transactions and the transparency of providing transaction details to the public, cryptocurrency technologies have now become a recognized force across the globe.

Initially it was only used for digital transactions, but now it is used to trade just about anything over the internet. It has become a great success that many companies around the world are using them.

Some high-end companies are also investing a lot of money to further simplify the process with advanced safety and security measures, helping cryptocurrency develop at an astonishing rate.

Bitcoin vs Cryptocurrency Head to Head Differences

Bitcoin vs Cryptocurrency – Conclusion

Bitcoin, being the first cryptocurrency, has an advantage over other cryptocurrency technologies. Since then many cryptocurrencies have arrived and some are even specializing in some sectors.

The most important thing is competition. Due to strong competition, cryptocurrencies continually improve themselves and the technologies they use. This paves the way for a lot of innovation and improvements in performance and security measures.

Bitcoin may have had a bigger share of the sector initially. But with the introduction of new cryptocurrencies and sophisticated and transparent technologies, the gap is narrowing with each passing day. Soon this market will also become more dispersed with the cryptocurrency that provides the most value at the top.

Learn about the four types of cryptocurrencies according to their usefulness

Cryptocurrencies can be broadly classified into four types based on their utility. There are more than 15,000 cryptocurrencies today and there are still more to be added

The cryptocurrency market in 2021 is worth over $2.2 trillion, Coinmarketcap.com data as of Dec. 14 shows.

In 2011, the cryptocurrency market was only worth $10 million. According to a report published on Statista, the crypto market first reached a market capitalization of $10 million on February 9, 2011. On November 10, 2021, the crypto market capitalization was $3048.57 billion or approximately $3 trillion. dollars, showed the same.

Back then, only a handful of cryptocurrencies existed and the main purpose for most of them was to provide a cheap and fast alternative to the US dollar for cross-border payments.

As of December 13, there are more than 15,000 cryptocurrencies, according to coinmarketcap.com, with more being added every day, though how many ultimately remain remains to be seen.

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan believes that of the 6,000 cryptocurrencies in existence today, most will perish. "Only one or two, or at most a handful, would survive," he told CNBC-TV18 last month.

But there are several types of cryptocurrencies. “Cryptocurrencies can be classified into different categories, such as DeFi, NFTs, utility tokens, store-of-value tokens like bitcoin and litecoin, and yield farming tokens like Aave,” says Sidharth Sogani, CEO of Crebaco, a company cryptocurrency research.

Based on their utility, we have broadly classified cryptocurrencies into four types.


The world's first cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created for this utility. The goal was to make cross-border payment transactions cheaper and faster. Over the years, it has proven to be a store of value. Whereas in 2009, one bitcoin was worth roughly $1, now the value has risen to $48,000, according to data from coinmarketcap.com.

 “Cryptocurrencies can be used on any public decentralized blockchain. It is as if the Ethereum blockchain has Ether as a token. Solana Blockchain has Sol as a token. So the tokens have allowed developers and the public to use that particular blockchain using their native tokens,” says Sogani.


Stablecoins can be classified as assets, as the value of these cryptocurrencies is derived from the value of an external asset. For example, USDT derives its value from the US dollar. Gold GLC is tied to the value of gold. Previously, if investors decided to exit any cryptocurrency, they could exchange it for any other cryptocurrency (which may or may not be preferable) or fiat currency. Now, due to the availability of stablecoins, they could choose to remain in the crypto ecosystem by exchanging their cryptocurrency for a more stable crypto while they decide on the next preferable option.

 “(Cryptocurrency) includes characteristics of a product as well as a currency, something of a hybrid. Commodities can also be used to settle a transaction. They do not have a direct impact on the economic structure of a country, so considering them as a commodity is fine,” says Sogani.


Many buyers think that this is where the future of cryptocurrencies lies. These types of cryptocurrencies were created to finance special projects aimed at solving the world's problems. For example, Siacoin (SIA) aims to solve the problem of expensive cloud storage. As mentioned on its official website, “Sia is the leading decentralized cloud storage platform. No logs, no servers, no trusted third parties. Sia is leveraging blockchain technology to create a data storage market that is stronger and more affordable than traditional cloud storage providers.”

 Another example is Decentraland, which is an Ethereum-based application where users can buy virtual land (based on NFTs) using their cryptocurrency (MANA). Similarly, there are many more cryptocurrencies that provide this type of utility.

Terra (LUNA) is working to become the stablecoin provider for e-commerce payments and make decentralized finance (Defi) accessible to the common man. “Terra is a public blockchain protocol that implements a set of algorithmic decentralized stablecoins that support a thriving ecosystem that brings DeFi to the masses,” says his website.

Meme or joke coin

These were created strictly for fun, with no specific goal or purpose, but are now worth millions. For example, Dogelon Mars (ELON) was created as a joke. It is supposed to facilitate "Interplanetary Currency Transactions" when feasible. Its market cap exceeds $500 million as of December 13, according to coinmarketcap.com.

 “Meme coins serve no purpose and are highly speculative assets that are powered by the simple idea of ​​inflated community-based trading. Most of them have no use case. Nascent investors should stay away from such risky cryptocurrencies. They can go b*st, which means that their value becomes zero at any time. Like what happened recently with the Squid cryptocurrency. Its owner ran away with millions of dollars of investors' money,” says Sogani.

But some have stood the test of time by now. Both Dogecoin and Shiba Inu began their journey as meme coins in their early days, but are now part of the crypto race. “Work with Doge developers to improve the efficiency of system transactions. Potentially promising,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted this week. Dogecoin developers are now working on making their coin a serious competitor for bitcoin.

Shiba Inu founder Ryoshi recently revealed that the Shiba Inu Core Devs (SICD) are working to develop their metaverse known as the "Oshiverse". According to a report by Yahoo Finance, the anonymous developer stated: "We are working on many aspects of Shiba Inu, including Shibarium, Shi, Shibanet, The Decentralized Shiboshi Game, Incubator, and much more that will not become apparent until the near future."

 But like any cryptocurrency, caution is the key that investors should never ignore.

How to invest in cryptocurrencies

Read our tips on the best ways to invest in altcoins

Buying cryptocurrencies has never been so easy. He just signs up on an exchange, clicks “buy” and Bob is his uncle – he is a bona fide cryptocurrency trader.

But there is more to investing than simply buying your chosen cryptocurrency. As an experienced investor, you probably have a lot of questions about cryptocurrencies, including what you need to know before you invest, how to buy them, and how to safely store (and protect) your investments.

We will answer these essential questions and more in this guide on how to invest in cryptocurrencies.

3 things you need to know before investing in the cryptocurrency market

1. Cryptocurrency remains a volatile and high-risk investment

Cryptocurrencies are very volatile. Bitcoin is a prime example, as it's not uncommon for it to drop 30% one week and then skyrocket to record highs the next.

Bitcoin might be doing very well compared to when it first gained popularity, but returns are neither stable nor guaranteed. Anyone who bought BTCUSD in late 2017 and sold anytime before October 2020 suffered a loss.

If you buy cryptocurrencies, we recommend that you only allocate a small portion of your portfolio to it to start with.

2. Cryptocurrency Holdings Are Not FDIC Insured

If your bank fails, your checking and savings accounts will be insured for up to $250,000 each. But if your cryptocurrency exchange goes bankrupt, gets hacked, or just shuts down without warning, you're out of luck.

3. Cryptocurrency is taxable

Cryptocurrency earnings are taxable. The IRS decided to start taxing crypto gains as capital gains in 2014 and has since issued at least 24,000 warnings to the crypto community.

How to buy cryptocurrencies

Choose an exchange

Your first step when investing in crypto is to choose a reputable exchange. An exchange is where you will buy, sell, and possibly store your crypto.

Fortunately, crypto has been around long enough that the largest exchanges have become quite robust and easy to use. There are many that we recommend in general, but here are three of the best exchanges for beginners:

Coinbase is a great first destination for most beginners. They are a publicly traded company with over 73 million users, and are known for their great and intuitive user interface and the ability to earn free crypto through Coinbase Learn. The drawbacks are higher than average fees and the inability to mine your private key to a cold wallet. Learn more in our Coinbase Review.

Binance.US competes with Coinbase by offering lower fees, a better selection of cryptocurrencies, and more advanced features for growth. The platform is under intense regulatory scrutiny; While this is not a deal breaker as it is common among crypto platforms, it is something to keep in mind.

BlockFi offers investors the possibility to obtain loans backed by cryptocurrencies. And for those who want to earn even more crypto, they can earn bitcoin back on any purchase made with The BlockFi Rewards Visa® Signature Credit Card. Learn more in our BlockFi Review.

Choose which cryptocurrencies you would like to invest in

Bitcoin isn't the only digital currency in town. In fact, there are more than 7,500 cryptos.

Fortunately, most exchanges only offer a couple dozen. These are usually the most legitimate and viable coins with a respectable market cap.

Here are some examples of the most traded cryptocurrencies today:

Bitcoin (BTCUSD) – The king of cryptocurrencies still exists and is available to buy on all popular exchanges.

Ethereum (ETH): The second most popular crypto by market capitalization achieved success through innovation, which enabled the registration of smart contracts on the blockchain.

Dogecoin (DOGE): Dogecoin was created in less than 2 hours as a joke, a loving satire on cryptocurrencies. Despite this, DOGE has reached a market capitalization of $85 billion, highlighting the power of speculation and chatter on the internet.

Binance Coin (BNB): BNB is the proprietary coin of Binance, the world's largest currency exchange (Binance.US is the US-only version). It has become popular due to its wide acceptance and ability to lower Binance trading fees.

Which ones should you buy? Well, cryptocurrencies are so speculative and volatile that choosing the right cryptocurrencies for your portfolio may depend on which ones you believe. For example, do you think Ethereum has more technical merit and mundane applications than Bitcoin?

While stock traders may read Form 10-K when researching companies, crypto investors might consider reading white papers, such as the original for Bitcoin.

Determine how many cryptocurrencies to buy

How much cryptocurrency should you have in your portfolio? I've written a whole article on the subject, but here's the TL;DR:

I asked two experienced wealth advisors for an exact number, and both of their answers were:

“Maybe 10%, so if crypto tanks, you can still withdraw, but I still wouldn't recommend it.”

"Get $100,000 in safe investments first," because if you secure $100,000 in safe investments by the time you're 35 and keep depositing another $100 a month, you'll retire a millionaire.

Not surprisingly, experienced wealth managers are not big fans of cryptocurrencies because they don't fit an asymmetric risk profile. It's too unpredictable: you can't build a 99% guaranteed rich future around it.

Bottom line? Start small. Keep 10%, or better yet, 5% of your portfolio.

How many cryptocurrencies should you have in your investment portfolio?

Safely store your private keys in a wallet

Once you buy some cryptocurrencies, your next decision will be how to store your private keys.

To quickly recap, hot and cold wallets live online and offline, respectively. A hot wallet allows you to access and exchange your crypto with ease, and the security measures that protect it are better than ever.

But hackers are getting b*older, which is why some crypto traders, and especially long-term holders, choose to store their private key in a cold wallet: a USB or hard drive that they keep in a safe.

If you're dabbling in small amounts and think you'll still be buying some regularly, a hot wallet will suffice for now.

Best Cryptocurrency Wallets

Keep your investment

Your final step is to maintain your crypto investment. The only way to do this step incorrectly is to buy crypto and forget about it.

full of them. Avoid cryptocurrency investment mistakes by:

Add your crypto to your main investment dashboard so you can monitor its performance over time.

Since cryptocurrency trading is still the Wild West, check the headlines regularly to monitor the regulatory scrutiny of your chosen exchange.

Dive into crypto communities. Visit the crypto subreddit, then sort by new and hot topics. Also consider joining a crypto community through your preferred social media platform, or even attending crypto meetups or conferences in person.

Monitor which governments are banning cryptocurrencies or conversely blessing them as legal tender and building a Bitcoin city on a volcano.

Continue to teach yourself how to implement new cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and even get paid in crypto on Coinbase Learn.

cryptocurrency market live

What is the future of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation?

Other ways to invest in cryptocurrencies

Buying cryptocurrencies is not the only way to "invest" in them. Here are some other lower risk methods to consider.

Get "free" cryptocurrencies through learning and mining

As mentioned, you can actually earn some free crypto just by learning about crypto on sites like Coinbase. For example, you can earn $2 worth of Stellar (XLM) just by watching a two-minute video:

If you have a powerful computer with a gaming-capable graphics card, you can also mine crypto for free. Mining is the act of leasing your computer's processing power to the blockchain and receiving a bit of crypto in return. I wrote a guide on how to start mining Bitcoin in 60 seconds.

Invest in cryptocurrency stocks and ETFs

Do you want to invest in cryptocurrencies without having to buy them? You're lucky! The SEC recently approved the first Bitcoin Futures ETF, and you can read all about it in our Crypto ETFs: How to Invest in a Bitcoin ETF feature.

You can also invest in the cryptocurrency industry by buying shares of companies that are highly focused or invested in the future of cryptocurrencies. For example, you can buy shares of Coinbase (COIN), mining companies like Hut 8 Mining (HUT), or chip manufacturers that indirectly support cryptocurrencies by producing mining chips, like Nvidia (NVDA).

Invest in the blockchain

One final method of investing in cryptocurrencies without actually buying them is to invest in the technology behind them: blockchain.

In 2014, only two of the world's 100 largest publicly traded companies invested in blockchain projects. Today, that number is 81.

There are even blockchain ETFs, namely the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK), which offers a good mix of blue chips and exciting up-and-comers.

Pros and cons of investing in cryptocurrencies


Possibility of massive gains: Cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin, is the best performing investable asset of the last decade. It can sink, or it can continue on its way to the sky.

Support an emerging technology: Blockchain technology is reaching almost every sector (public, fintech, medical) and your investment in crypto is supporting those sectors.

You can earn something "for free": You can't "mine" stocks, nor can you watch short videos to earn free real estate, but you can do either to earn free crypto!

Buying cryptocurrency is not the only way to invest: cryptocurrency and blockchain ETFs are convenient ways for stock traders to add cryptocurrency to their portfolio without exposing themselves to the high risk of owning real cryptocurrency.


High risk and volatility: Crypto remains too unpredictable to farm, which is why traditional wealth advisors recommend limiting your portfolio allocation to 10% maximum, if at all.

Vulnerable to theft, fraud and scams – Squid is just the latest cryptocurrency scam in which its developers took $3.38 million of investors' money. Most of the victims of the 2014 Mt. Gox hack, in which 850,000 Bitcoin were stolen, have yet to return a single coin.

Do you have to pay taxes on cryptocurrencies?

Yes. Crypto gains are taxed at the regular capital gains rate: 10-37% for short-term gains and 0-20% for long-term gains.

According to the IRS, these three are not taxable and do not need reporting:

Buy crypto with cash and hold it (affectionately known as HODLing)

Donate cryptocurrency to a qualified tax-exempt charity or non-profit organization

Transfer cryptocurrencies between wallets

Whereas the following must be reported and will be taxed as capital gains:

Sell ​​crypto for cash (even if you lost money on your initial investment)

Using cryptocurrencies to pay for goods or services

Exchange one cryptocurrency for another

mined crypto.

Be paid in crypto or by airdrop.

Receive cryptocurrencies as a bonus or reward

If you don't declare your holdings, you can be penalized. It's the same penalties for unpaid taxes, and as the IRS itself says, "they can add up quickly":

A late filing fee

A late payment fee

Interest in addition to both fines

Your total penalty could be 25% or more of your unpaid tax amount.

Tax guide for cryptocurrency investments

Should you invest in cryptocurrencies?

You might consider investing in cryptocurrencies if:

You would like to add very high risk to your portfolio – If you have already assessed your risk tolerance and are actively looking to add higher risk to your portfolio, crypto certainly fits the bill.

You believe in the mission of cryptocurrencies and blockchain: You may believe in the positive aspects of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, and perceive it as a form of ESG investing.

You may want to stream crypto if:

You are risk averse: Cryptocurrencies are extremely risky, volatile and unpredictable. If that makes you more anxious than excited, it may not fit your portfolio.

It's your first way to invest: To echo Varun Marneni, a certified financial planner with CPC Advisors from Atlanta, it's best to have $100,000 in safe investments first before investing in crypto. See our article Safe Investments with High Yields.

You are feeling FOMO: Fear is not an investment strategy. FOMO should not be a motivator to buy crypto or any investable asset for that matter. Also, you don't need crypto to get rich.

The bottom line

It has never been so easy to buy and invest in cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are still the Wild West in many ways: a frantic gold rush with a lack of regulatory oversight, and while it's exciting, it's not for everyone.

If you choose to invest in crypto, be sure to educate yourself on the risks, best practices, and keep an eye on the industry. And don't forget to pay Uncle Sam his dues! 

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