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You’ve asked for a list to find the Best Cryptocurrency Wallet, We’ve delivered! Bitcoin prices have been rising throughout 2020, and have now hit over $10,000! Pair that with newer cryptocurrencies such as ether along with an increasing acceptance of blockchain tech plus media and government coverage, cryptocurrency wallets are needed now more than ever. Whether you are looking for the best cryptocurrency wallets, Bitcoin wallet or the best Ethereum wallet, we’ve got you covered.
These best cryptocurrency wallets, best Bitcoin wallets, and best Ethereum wallets have proven to be crowd-pleasers, and each comes with its own array of pros and cons that are mostly dependent on user preference:
1. Ledger Nano S (Best Ethereum Wallet)
The Ledger Nano S is a cryptocurrency multi-asset hardware wallet that looks like a folding flash drive. It can store Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other Altcoins. The Ledger Nano S connects via a USB cable and requires interaction with the device to confirm transactions. Ledger’s Nano S is also U2F authentication compliant for use with other services and can run multiple apps. The Ledger Nano is safe, relatively inexpensive, malware proof and cannot be hacked. For those reasons, we think it is one of the best cryptocurrency wallets. See #6 for the Nano’s beefed up brother, the Ledger Blue!
Ledger Nano S is available in saffron yellow, flamingo pink, jade green, lagoon blue, and black.
According to Ledger, these are in stock and shipping.
Buy Direct Here > www.LedgerWallet.com
Voted #1 “Best Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet” by our readers!
2. Coinbase (Best Bitcoin Wallet)
CB is an established and dedicated cryptocurrency exchange, a Bitcoin, and Ethereum wallet, and is supported in more than 30 countries. They have helped over 10 million users transact more than $20 billion in cryptocurrency exchanges and is the industry leader for cryptocurrency exchange. They have a great user interface that is easy to use.
Free to sign up but they do charge a minimal transaction fee depending on the size of the transaction. Simply sign up, connect your bank account or credit card, then buy your cryptocurrency. You will need to verify your identity by providing 1 or multiple pieces of identity, depending on how much you buy. Once you’ve purchased your Bitcoin, You can easily transfer it to your “vault” for better protection. It may take several days to receive the first Bitcoins you purchase. Be sure to turn on 2-factor authentication for additional protection to your account, you can download this on any cell phone using Google Authenticator or Authy.
Sign Up Here > www.Coinbase.com
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3. Ledger BLUE
The “Rolls Royce of hardware wallets! It is by far the most advanced hardware security gear on the market. Comes with a color large touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a rechargeable battery. Lightweight for easy transportation and storage. Works with multi currencies and extensible with other apps. Ledger offers enterprise-level security. If it wasn’t for the high price point, Ledger would get our vote for the top 5 best cryptocurrency wallets.
Shipping: Available for Preorder, According to Ledger this will ship in late September 2020.
Cost: 229.00€ or roughly $270 USD.
Buy Direct Here > www.LedgerWallet.com
KeepKey is a simple hardware wallet that secures Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin dash, and Namecoin. Your assets are protected from hackers and thieves. They claim to be virus and malware proof because it does not have an operating system like your phone or computer. The firmware is 100% open source and works on PC, Mac, Linux, and Android. You can make modifications to their firmware or create your own, then run it. Keep Key has a great digital display and comes in a very appealing anodized aluminum and black polycarbonate case. They offer a 1-year limited warranty.
As of 8/29/2020, These are finally back in stock!
Buy Direct Here > www.KeepKey.com
Buy From Amazon Here > Keep Key Amazon
TREZOR is an industry-leading hardware multi-cryptocurrency wallet. They were the original hardware wallet and claim to be the most secure. These are quick to setup and easy to use. They offer a Google Chrome extension that communicates with your hardware. TREZOR combines an easy setup with a small, durable token for authenticating and storing cryptocurrency. The token can also act as a security key for the new U2F authentication process.
These are available in black and white colors.
Customers tell us these are shipping 4 days after the order is placed.
Cost: 89. € or roughly $10 USD. They also offer a “Multipack that contains 3 Trezors and gives you a 22€ discount.
Buy Direct Here > www.Trezor.io
StrongCoin one of the best cryptocurrency wallets. They are a hybrid wallet allows you to send and receive Bitcoins just like any other wallet. However, the Bitcoin private key which is required to send money is encrypted in your browser before it reaches their servers. They can never hold your bitcoins ransom because you are able to download your entire account as a PDF. You can purchase bitcoins directly to your StrongCoin wallet so they are never at risk of theft on an exchange. StrongCoin is the longest running Bitcoin wallet. 110,000 users have signed up and it appears to be a very well known and widely used company. Their wallets are free to create but they do charge a small transaction fee depending on the amount of Bitcoin.
Sign Up Here > www.StrongCoin.com
If this page were titled The Best Designed Cryptocurrency Wallet and not Best Cryptocurrency Wallets, Exodus would be the clear winner. Exodus is the first desktop software wallet to have ShapeShift built into the interface in order to allow for rapid conversion between various altcoins and cryptocurrencies. Beyond having ShapeShift integration, Exodus is a multi-asset wallet and lets you store your private keys in one application with a customizable user interface. You have full control over your encrypted private keys, they have beautiful live charts and you can customize the look and feel of their interface. They offer 24/7 support via their help desk or email which makes communication nice for late night projects. They also offer a Slack channel for communication with other users. Exodus is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This software is free to download.
8. Jaxx – Ice Cube
Jaxx established their brand by allowing for cross-platform support with their crypto wallet. They have added integration support for ShapeShift and gives users a multi-currency wallet that they hold the private keys for. Jaxx announced the “Ice Cube” which is a hardware wallet with a camera and cellular chip for broadcasting transactions that never connects to the internet. The Ice Cube is water and fire resistant. This company is small and can also be stored in a safe or safety deposit box for security. Jaxx has a beautiful user interface and visible code, you can tell they have designed this product for the amateur as well as the most experienced Crypto enthusiast.
Granted the prestigious “Best Mobile App” award by Blockchain.info in 2020, the wallet provides the ability to send and receive bitcoins whilst benefiting from bank-grade security. Mycelium is an Android-based multi-asset cryptocurrency wallet that has been tested by hundreds of thousands of users. At the time of writing this, they had the most stars on Google Play. They are in the midst of integrating with a variety of third-party service providers to bring new and emerging applications into a realm of usefulness that can only be achieved with native functionality and a high degree of user trust. They currently integrate with Cashila, Glidera, Coinapult, Trezor, and Ledger. Mycelium also has hardware wallets and is working to further the development of decentralized applications (DApps). They are constantly upgrading this software. They are working on a personal finance tool to pay your bills and manage your finances and investments. This is the best Ethereum wallet and the best Bitcoin Wallet.
Electrum was created by Thomas Voegtlin in November 2020, as a result, various developers have contributed to its source code. A software wallet that was designed to give users the freedom to manage their funds and private keys in a secure manner. Electrum allows you to store your private keys offline and integrates with some hardware wallets like TREZOR or Ledger products. Electrum utilizes decentralized servers to ensure minimal to no downtime.
Different Types of Cryptocurrency Wallets:
What is a Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet?
These cryptocurrency Wallets store your information offline so it cannot be hacked. While it is more expensive than most other wallets, It can be a great investment. A lot of people buy 2-4 hardware wallets to spread the risk of losing one. We recommend storing this in a safety deposit box at your bank or in a very safe and secure place in your home. The downside of these wallets is losing your wallet, be careful! For security, we think these are the best cryptocurrency wallets available.
What is a Cryptocurrency Web Wallet?
These are the easiest wallets to use and the most convenient. Most websites will allow for 2-factor authentication through Google, text message, or Authy. This adds a great layer of protection. We have heard of very few cases where these accounts were hacked individually but we have heard of entire exchanges getting hacked which results in stolen bitcoins. We always keep some of our Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and other Altcoins in web-based crypto wallets so we can easily day trade and move funds around.
What is a Cryptocurrency Desktop Wallet?
These are great wallets for storing cryptocurrency. You don’t have the concern of losing your wallet like a hardware cryptocurrency wallets. You don’t have the concern of getting hacked like web-based cryptocurrency wallets. These desktop wallets are generally free or low cost. You are however at risk of losing your wallet if your computer fails or is lost or stolen. If you want to make sure you don’t lose these wallets, we suggest printing them on a durable material like foam board printing. These can make for the best bitcoin wallet and also the best Etereum wallet.
What is a Cryptocurrency Mobile Wallet?
Both Apple and Android offer mobile app based cryptocurrency wallets. These are great because you can use them on the go and on the fly. We have read several reports on Reddit about fraudulent apps that steal your bitcoin wallet and all of its contents so please be sure to use a well known Mobile crypto wallet.
If you liked this page of the Best Cryptocurrency Wallets, Check out our page on the Best Ethereum Wallets of 2020
You tell us, what are best Cryptocurrency wallets? Why? Let us know in the comments below!
About Cas Proffitt
Cas is a B2B Content Marketer and Brand Consultant who specializes in disruptive technology. She covers topics like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, and big data, to name a few. Cas is also co-owner of an esports organization and spends much of her time teaching gamers how to make a living doing what they love while bringing positivity to the gaming community.
The Good and Bad of Cryptocurrency – Is Investing in Cryptocurrencies Wise?
Cryptocurrency has created a new buzz in the world of tech enthusiasts and cybersecurity experts. However, there is a divided support for the whole cryptocurrency and blockchain hoopla. While one sect feels that it holds great potential as the future of currency, its equally high probability of misuse by cyber conman has kept cybersecurity experts on their toes. Do you still lack clarity on what is cryptocurrency? Here’s the good and bad of cryptocurrency. Also, know if investing in cryptocurrencies is a wise decision.
What is Blockchain?
Speaking of cryptocurrency, you must have encountered the word ‘blockchain’ at some point or the other. Wondering what is blockchain and what does it have to do with cryptocurrency? Well, they do go hand-in-hand, but there are some basic differences between blockchain and cryptocurrency. But before we delve into that, here’s what blockchain is?
The blockchain is the decentralized distributed ledger system used to record data transactions across multiple computers. In other words, it is an encrypted chain of information held over a distributed network with an unalterable timestamp. It gained popularity because of its ability to store any digital asset or transaction irrespective of the industry.
According to experts, the blockchain market size would grow to $20 billion by 2024!!
What is Cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a tool or resource on a blockchain network. A combination of cryptography and currency, it a digital coin that uses cryptography for its security and verification. An asset-backed token or currency, it’s used for multiple purposes and has value through its utility function.
Currently, the cryptocurrencies that are popularly known and are on high demand are Bitcoin, Ripple, Ether, Litecoin, Namecoin, and Monero.
In fact, as of November 2020, the Bitcoin index value was USD 4,241.74. With increasing awareness about cryptocurrencies, the circulation of Bitcoins has grown exponentially and reached 17 million in September 2020. Furthermore, there are 4,036 Bitcoin ATMs around the world at present!
What Can You Do with Cryptocurrencies?
India and several other countries have banned the use and trading of cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, it is a legit form of payment in multiple places across the globe. If you belong to the group that advocates digital currencies, then this shall give you the right amount of boost!
At present, many online and offline merchants accept payment in the form of Bitcoins. This includes online retailers such as Newegg and Overstock , as well as local shops and restaurants. What’s more? Some are already using Bitcoins to pay for flights, hotels, jewelry and even appliances!
Did you know that Apple Inc. has legalized at least 10 type of cryptocurrencies as an acceptable form of payment on its App Store? Additionally, online platforms such as OpenBazaar and Bitify deal only in cryptocurrencies!
Difference Between Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
In the early days of blockchain when Bitcoin gained popularity, people used the terms blockchain and cryptocurrency interchangeably. However, blockchain is the platform of which cryptocurrency is just a part. While blockchain is the name of the technology, cryptocurrency is the token or asset of value.
The difference between blockchain and cryptocurrency is that blockchain forms the network where cryptocurrency transactions can occur. The blockchain network provides the medium for the transaction and enables the exchange of value and information.
Cryptocurrencies are the tokens used within these networks to effect these transactions. Without a blockchain platform, there would be no means for the transfer and record of these transactions.
The Good and Bad of Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency is the current talk of the town. Every second person is mulling over the idea of investing in cryptocurrencies. Amidst all the hype, not many are aware of the good and bad of cryptocurrency. So, are cryptocurrencies the most lucrative investment at present? Is investing in cryptocurrencies secure? What returns would it provide?
Considering an investment in cryptocurrencies? The following sections on the good and bad of cryptocurrency will help you reach a conclusion.
The Virtues of Cryptocurrency
The fact that the blockchain network works on a decentralized system allows its users to be anonymous. It operates in the form of silos without the need for users to reveal their details. Although the catch here is that a user uses a pseudonym instead of his/her real name, email ID or address. This pseudonym is a randomly-generated bitcoin address that lends cryptocurrency transactions its anonymity.
The blockchain technology uses a robust combination of hashing and proof-of-work to render the network tamper-evident. Moreover, they are a part of a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network which allows everyone to join. Thus to tamper even a single block in a blockchain, one would have to redo the hashes and proof of work and take control over more than half of the P2P network. This is almost impossible to achieve, thus making cryptocurrency transactions secure.
Easy to Join
Cryptocurrencies are a part of the blockchain technology which works on the basis of a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network. This form of the network allows everyone to join in as there are no entry barriers. Anyone can deal with cryptocurrencies, or even mine them if they have the requisite hardware.
The Vices of Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency belongs to a decentralized system with no single governing body overseeing its regulation. Thus, it offers complete anonymity to those involved in mining and trading cryptocurrencies. This increases the chances of its use for unscrupulous objectives and illegal transactions.
Ever since its inception, the cryptocurrency has had its share of highs and lows. Its value fluctuates on a day-to-day basis, making it very unstable and volatile. It reached a maximum price index of USD 13,860.14 in December 2020 but has now fallen to USD 4,241.74. This volatility can massively affect its users for the good or the bad.
With cryptocurrencies, one cannot be indecisive since the transactions are irreversible and final. One cannot reverse a payment once it is done on a blockchain network. This is because the whole institution of blockchain works on the tenets of storing data in a way that prevents alteration and tampering. Thus, post payment, the receiver of the funds can at most refund the bitcoins to the payer.
Cryptocurrency is still like the new kid on the block. Being in an experimental phase, it is encountering newer challenges each day. Yes, there are gradual improvements, but each day brings over more sophisticated threats to its security and integrity too. Investing in cryptocurrencies at this stage can bombard you with fluctuating and increasing fees, slower confirmation and other crucial issues.
Cryptocurrency is not an official form of currency in any part of the world yet. It has stayed in the bad books of the government due to the concerns of misuse in illegal transactions. Also, anything that has value is taxable, including cryptocurrency. The slightly confusing and complex tax reporting associated with cryptocurrencies is mostly jarring for crypto users and traders.
Should You Be Investing in Cryptocurrencies?
Everything said and done, cryptocurrencies have truly managed to be a hit with some. But, there aren’t enough reasons yet why people would switch from cash or credit to digital currencies. Though it holds great potential for the future, the cryptocurrency market is still volatile. One should properly think through before making any investment in cryptocurrencies as it is still a high-risk asset.
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What is Cryptocurrency? [Everything You Need To Know!]
What Is Cryptocurrency: 21st-Century Unicorn – Or The Money Of The Future?
- Cryptocurrency is an internet-based medium of exchange which uses cryptographical functions to conduct financial transactions. Cryptocurrencies leverage blockchain technology to gain decentralization, transparency, and immutability.
- The most important feature of a cryptocurrency is that it is not controlled by any central authority: the decentralized nature of the blockchain makes cryptocurrencies theoretically immune to the old ways of government control and interference.
- Cryptocurrencies can be sent directly between two parties via the use of private and public keys. These transfers can be done with minimal processing fees, allowing users to avoid the steep fees charged by traditional financial institutions.
Today cryptocurrencies (Buy Crypto) have become a global phenomenon known to most people. In this guide, we are going to tell you all that you need to know about cryptocurrencies and the sheer that they can bring into the global economic system.
Nowadays, you‘ll have a hard time finding a major bank, a big accounting firm, a prominent software company or a government that did not research cryptocurrencies, publish a paper about it or start a so-called blockchain-project. (Take our blockchain courses to learn more about the blockchain)
“Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably Bitcoin, have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of the rest of us .” – Thomas Carper, US-Senator
But beyond the noise and the press releases the overwhelming majority of people – even bankers, consultants, scientists, and developers – have very limited knowledge about cryptocurrencies. They often fail to even understand the basic concepts.
So let‘s walk through the whole story. What are cryptocurrencies?
Understanding Cryptocurrency Basics 101
- Where did cryptocurrency originate?
- Why should you learn about cryptocurrency?
- And what do you need to know about cryptocurrency?
How cryptocurrency works?
Few people know, but cryptocurrencies emerged as a side product of another invention. Satoshi Nakamoto, the unknown inventor of Bitcoin , the first and still most important cryptocurrency, never intended to invent a currency.
In his announcement of Bitcoin in late 2008, Satoshi said he developed “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.“
His goal was to invent something; many people failed to create before digital cash.
Announcing the first release of Bitcoin, a new electronic cash system that uses a peer-to-peer network to prevent double-spending. It’s completely decentralized with no server or central authority. – Satoshi Nakamoto, 09 January 2009, announcing Bitcoin on SourceForge.
The single most important part of Satoshi‘s invention was that he found a way to build a decentralized digital cash system. In the nineties, there have been many attempts to create digital money, but they all failed.
… after more than a decade of failed Trusted Third Party based systems (Digicash, etc) , they see it as a lost cause. I hope they can make the distinction, that this is the first time I know of that we’re trying a non-trust based system. – Satoshi Nakamoto in an E-Mail to Dustin Trammell
After seeing all the centralized attempts fail, Satoshi tried to build a digital cash system without a central entity. Like a Peer-to-Peer network for file sharing.
This decision became the birth of cryptocurrency. They are the missing piece Satoshi found to realize digital cash. The reason why is a bit technical and complex, but if you get it, you‘ll know more about cryptocurrencies than most people do. So, let‘s try to make it as easy as possible:
To realize digital cash you need a payment network with accounts, balances, and transaction. That‘s easy to understand. One major problem every payment network has to solve is to prevent the so-called double spending : to prevent that one entity spends the same amount twice. Usually, this is done by a central server who keeps record about the balances.
In a decentralized network , you don‘t have this server. So you need every single entity of the network to do this job. Every peer in the network needs to have a list with all transactions to check if future transactions are valid or an attempt to double spend.
But how can these entities keep a consensus about these records?
If the peers of the network disagree about only one single, minor balance, everything is broken. They need an absolute consensus. Usually, you take, again, a central authority to declare the correct state of balances. But how can you achieve consensus without a central authority?
Nobody did know until Satoshi emerged out of nowhere. In fact, nobody believed it was even possible.
Satoshi proved it was. His major innovation was to achieve consensus without a central authority. Cryptocurrencies are a part of this solution – the part that made the solution thrilling, fascinating and helped it to roll over the world.
What is cryptocurrency?
If you take away all the noise around cryptocurrencies and reduce it to a simple definition, you find it to be just limited entries in a database no one can change without fulfilling specific conditions . This may seem ordinary, but, believe it or not: this is exactly how you can define a currency.
Take the money on your bank account: What is it more than entries in a database that can only be changed under specific conditions? You can even take physical coins and notes: What are they else than limited entries in a public physical database that can only be changed if you match the condition than you physically own the coins and notes? Money is all about a verified entry in some kind of database of accounts, balances, and transactions.
So, to give a proper definition – Cryptocurrency is an internet-based medium of exchange which uses cryptographical functions to conduct financial transactions. Cryptocurrencies leverage blockchain technology to gain decentralization, transparency, and immutability.
How miners create coins and confirm transactions
Let‘s have a look at the mechanism ruling the databases of cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency like Bitcoin consists of a network of peers. Every peer has a record of the complete history of all transactions and thus of the balance of every account.
A transaction is a file that says, “Bob gives X Bitcoin to Alice“ and is signed by Bob‘s private key. It‘s basic public key cryptography, nothing special at all. After signed, a transaction is broadcasted in the network, sent from one peer to every other peer. This is basic p2p-technology.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
The transaction is known almost immediately by the whole network. But only after a specific amount of time it gets confirmed.
Confirmation is a critical concept in cryptocurrencies. You could say that cryptocurrencies are all about confirmation.
As long as a transaction is unconfirmed, it is pending and can be forged. When a transaction is confirmed, it is set in stone. It is no longer forgeable, it can‘t be reversed, it is part of an immutable record of historical transactions: of the so-called blockchain.
Only miners can confirm transactions. This is their job in a cryptocurrency-network. They take transactions, stamp them as legit and spread them in the network. After a transaction is confirmed by a miner, every node has to add it to its database. It has become part of the blockchain.
For this job, the miners get rewarded with a token of the cryptocurrency, for example with Bitcoins. Since the miner‘s activity is the single most important part of the cryptocurrency-system we should stay for a moment and take a deeper look at it.
What is cryptocurrency mining?
Principally everybody can be a miner. Since a decentralized network has no authority to delegate this task, a cryptocurrency needs some kind of mechanism to prevent one ruling party from abusing it. Imagine someone creates thousands of peers and spreads forged transactions. The system would break immediately.
So, Satoshi set the rule that the miners need to invest some work of their computers to qualify for this task. In fact, they have to find a hash – a product of a cryptographic function – that connects the new block with its predecessor. This is called the Proof-of-Work. In Bitcoin, it is based on the SHA 256 Hash algorithm.
Image Credit: https://privacycanada.net
You don‘t need to understand the details about SHA 256. It‘s only important you know that it can be the basis of a cryptologic puzzle the miners compete to solve. After finding a solution, a miner can build a block and add it to the blockchain. As an incentive, he has the right to add a so-called coinbase transaction that gives him a specific number of Bitcoins. This is the only way to create valid Bitcoins.
Train to Become A Blockchain Developer
Bitcoins can only be created if miners solve a cryptographic puzzle. Since the difficulty of this puzzle increases the amount of computer power the whole miner’s invest, there is only a specific amount of cryptocurrency token that can be created in a given amount of time. This is part of the consensus no peer in the network can break.
If you really think about it, Bitcoin, as a decentralized network of peers that keep a consensus about accounts and balances, is more a currency than the numbers you see in your bank account. What are these numbers more than entries in a database – a database which can be changed by people you don‘t see and by rules you don‘t know?
Basically, cryptocurrencies are entries about token in decentralized consensus-databases. They are called CRYPTOcurrencies because the consensus-keeping process is secured by strong cryptography. Cryptocurrencies are built on cryptography . They are not secured by people or by trust, but by math. It is more probable that an asteroid falls on your house than that a bitcoin address is compromised.
Describing the properties of cryptocurrencies we need to separate between transactional and monetary properties. While most cryptocurrencies share a common set of properties, they are not carved in stone.
Understanding cryptocurrency properties
1) Irreversible: After confirmation, a transaction can‘t be reversed. By nobody. And nobody means nobody. Not you, not your bank, not the president of the United States, not Satoshi, not your miner. Nobody. If you send money, you send it. Period. No one can help you, if you sent your funds to a scammer or if a hacker stole them from your computer. There is no safety net.
2) Pseudonymous: Neither transactions nor accounts are connected to real-world identities. You receive Bitcoins on so-called addresses, which are randomly seeming chains of around 30 characters. While it is usually possible to analyze the transaction flow, it is not necessarily possible to connect the real-world identity of users with those addresses.
3) Fast and global: Transactions are propagated nearly instantly in the network and are confirmed in a couple of minutes. Since they happen in a global network of computers they are completely indifferent of your physical location. It doesn‘t matter if I send Bitcoin to my neighbor or to someone on the other side of the world.
4) Secure: Cryptocurrency funds are locked in a public key cryptography system. Only the owner of the private key can send cryptocurrency. Strong cryptography and the magic of big numbers make it impossible to break this scheme. A Bitcoin address is more secure than Fort Knox.
5) Permissionless : You don‘t have to ask anybody to use cryptocurrency. It‘s just a software that everybody can download for free. After you installed it, you can receive and send Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. No one can prevent you. There is no gatekeeper.
What is Cryptocurrency: Monetary properties
1) Controlled supply : Most cryptocurrencies limit the supply of the tokens. In Bitcoin, the supply decreases in time and will reach its final number sometime around the year 2140. All cryptocurrencies control the supply of the token by a schedule written in the code. This means the monetary supply of a cryptocurrency in every given moment in the future can roughly be calculated today. There is no surprise.
2) No debt but bearer : The Fiat-money on your bank account is created by debt , and the numbers, you see on your ledger represent nothing but debts. It‘s a system of IOU. Cryptocurrencies don‘t represent debts, they just represent themselves.
To understand the revolutionary impact of cryptocurrencies you need to consider both properties. Bitcoin as a permissionless, irreversible, and pseudonymous means of payment is an attack on the control of banks and governments over the monetary transactions of their citizens. You can‘t hinder someone to use Bitcoin, you can‘t prohibit someone to accept a payment, you can‘t undo a transaction.
As money with a limited, controlled supply that is not changeable by a government, a bank or any other central institution, cryptocurrencies attack the scope of the monetary policy. They take away the control central banks take on inflation or deflation by manipulating the monetary supply.
“While it’s still fairly new and unstable relative to the gold standard, cryptocurrency is definitely gaining traction and will most certainly have more normalized uses in the next few years. Right now, in particular, it’s increasing in popularity with the post-election market uncertainty. The key will be in making it easy for large-scale adoption (as with anything involving crypto) including developing safeguards and protections for buyers/investors. I expect that within two years , we’ll be in a place where people can shove their money under the virtual mattress through cryptocurrency, and they’ll know that wherever they go, that money will be there.” – Sarah Granger, Author, and Speaker.
Understanding cryptocurrency: Dawn of a new economy
Mostly due to its revolutionary properties cryptocurrencies have become a success their inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, didn‘t dare to dream of it. While every other attempt to create a digital cash system didn‘t attract a critical mass of users, Bitcoin had something that provoked enthusiasm and fascination. Sometimes it feels more like religion than technology.
Cryptocurrencies are digital gold. Sound money that is secure from political influence. Money promises to preserve and increase its value over time. Cryptocurrencies are also a fast and comfortable means of payment with a worldwide scope, and they are private and anonymous enough to serve as a means of payment for black markets and any other outlawed economic activity.
But while cryptocurrencies are more used for payment, its use as a means of speculation and a store of value dwarfs the payment aspects. Cryptocurrencies gave birth to an incredibly dynamic, fast-growing market for investors and speculators. Exchanges like Okcoin, Poloniex or shapeshift enable the trade of hundreds of cryptocurrencies. Their daily trade volume exceeds that of major European stock exchanges.
At the same time, the praxis of Initial Coin Distribution (ICO), mostly facilitated by Ethereum‘s smart contracts, gave life to incredibly successful crowdfunding projects, in which often an idea is enough to collect millions of dollars. In the case of “The DAO,” it has been more than 150 million dollars.
In this rich ecosystem of coins and token, you experience extreme volatility. It‘s common that a coin gains 10 percent a day – sometimes 100 percent – just to lose the same the next day. If you are lucky, your coin‘s value grows up to 1000 percent in one or two weeks.
While Bitcoin remains by far the most famous cryptocurrency and most other cryptocurrencies have zero non-speculative impact, investors and users should keep an eye on several cryptocurrencies. Here we present the most popular cryptocurrencies of today.
The one and only, the first and most famous cryptocurrency. Bitcoin serves as a digital gold standard in the whole cryptocurrency-industry, is used as a global means of payment and is the de-facto currency of cyber-crime like darknet markets or ransomware. After seven years in existence, Bitcoin‘s price has increased from zero to more than 650 Dollar, and its transaction volume reached more than 200.000 daily transactions.
There is not much more to say – Bitcoin is here to stay.
The brainchild of young crypto-genius Vitalik Buterin has ascended to the second place in the hierarchy of cryptocurrencies. Other than Bitcoin its blockchain does not only validate a set of accounts and balances but of so-called states. This means that Ethereum can not only process transactions but complex contracts and programs.
This flexibility makes Ethereum the perfect instrument for blockchain -application. But it comes at a cost. After the Hack of the DAO – an Ethereum based smart contract – the developers decided to do a hard fork without consensus, which resulted in the emerge of Ethereum Classic. Besides this, there are several clones of Ethereum, and Ethereum itself is a host of several Tokens like DigixDAO and Augur. This makes Ethereum more a family of cryptocurrencies than a single currency.
While Ripple has a native cryptocurrency – XRP – it is more about a network to process IOUs than the cryptocurrency itself. XRP, the currency, doesn‘t serve as a medium to store and exchange value, but more as a token to protect the network against spam.
Ripple, unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, has no mining since all the coins are already pre-mined. Ripple has found immense value in the financial space as a lot of banks have joined the Ripple network.
Litecoin was one of the first cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin and tagged as the silver to the digital gold bitcoin. Faster than bitcoin, with a larger amount of token and a new mining algorithm, Litecoin was a real innovation, perfectly tailored to be the smaller brother of bitcoin. “It facilitated the emerge of several other cryptocurrencies which used its codebase but made it, even more, lighter“. Examples are Dogecoin or Feathercoin.
While Litecoin failed to find a real use case and lost its second place after bitcoin, it is still actively developed and traded and is hoarded as a backup if Bitcoin fails.
Monero is the most prominent example of the CryptoNight algorithm. This algorithm was invented to add the privacy features Bitcoin is missing. If you use Bitcoin, every transaction is documented in the blockchain and the trail of transactions can be followed. With the introduction of a concept called ring-signatures, the CryptoNight algorithm was able to cut through that trail.
The first implementation of CryptoNight, Bytecoin, was heavily premined and thus rejected by the community. Monero was the first non-premined clone of bytecoin and raised a lot of awareness. There are several other incarnations of cryptonote with their own little improvements, but none of it did ever achieve the same popularity as Monero.
Monero‘s popularity peaked in summer 2020 when some darknet markets decided to accept it as a currency. This resulted in a steady increase in the price, while the actual usage of Monero seems to remain disappointingly small.
Besides those, there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies of several families. Most of them are nothing more than attempts to reach investors and quickly make money, but a lot of them promise playgrounds to test innovations in cryptocurrency-technology.
What is Cryptocurrency: Conclusion
The market of cryptocurrencies is fast and wild. Nearly every day new cryptocurrencies emerge, old die, early adopters get wealthy and investors lose money. Every cryptocurrency comes with a promise, mostly a big story to turn the world around. Few survive the first months, and most are pumped and dumped by speculators and live on as zombie coins until the last bagholder loses hope ever to see a return on his investment.
“In 2 years from now, I believe cryptocurrencies will be gaining legitimacy as a protocol for business transactions, micropayments, and overtaking Western Union as the preferred remittance tool. Regarding business transactions – you’ll see two paths: There will be financial businesses that use it for it’s no fee, nearly-instant ability to move any amount of money around, and there will be those that utilize it for its blockchain technology. Blockchain technology provides the largest benefit with trustless auditing, single source of truth, smart contracts, and color coins.”
– Cody Littlewood, and I’m the founder and CEO of Codelitt
Markets are dirty. But this doesn‘t change the fact that cryptocurrencies are here to stay – and here to change the world. This is already happening. People all over the world buy Bitcoin to protect themselves against the devaluation of their national currency. Mostly in Asia, a vivid market for Bitcoin remittance has emerged, and the Bitcoin using darknets of cybercrime are flourishing. More and more companies discover the power of Smart Contracts or token on Ethereum, the first real-world application of blockchain technologies emerge.
The revolution is already happening. Institutional investors start to buy cryptocurrencies. Banks and governments realize that this invention has the potential to draw their control away. Cryptocurrencies change the world. Step by step. You can either stand beside and observe – or you can become part of history in the making.
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