Cryptocurrency for Beginners

October 6th, 2022 by admin Leave a reply »

In the early days of its launch in 2009, several thousand bitcoins were used to buy a pizza. Since then, the cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise to US$65,000 in April 2021, after its heart-stopping drop in mid-2018 by about 70 percent to around US$6,000, boggles the mind of many people – cyptocurrency investors, traders or just the plain curious who missed the boat.

How it all began

Bear in mind that dissatisfaction with the current financial system gave rise to the development of the digital currency. The development of this cryptocurrency is based on blockchain technology by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym apparently used by a developer or group of developers.

Notwithstanding the many opinions predicting the death of cryptocurrency, bitcoin’s performance has inspired many other digital currencies, especially in recent years. The success with crowdfunding brought on by the blockchain fever also attracted those out to scam the unsuspecting public and this has come to the attention of regulators.

Beyond bitcoin

Bitcoin has inspired the launching of many other digital currencies, There are currently more than 1,000 versions of digital coins or tokens. Not all of them are the same and their values vary greatly, as do their liquidity.

Coins, altcoins and tokens

It would suffice at this point to say there are fine distinctions between coins, altcoins and tokens. Altcoins or alternative coins generally describes other than the pioneering bitcoin, although altcoins like ethereum, litecoin, ripple, dogecoin and dash are regarded as in the ‘main’ category of coins, meaning they are traded in more cryptocurrency exchanges.

Unregulated, so buyers beware

Some countries are keeping an open mind adopting a hands-off policy for cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications, while keeping an eye on outright scams. Yet there are regulators in other countries more concerned with the cons than pros of digital money. Regulators generally realise the need to strike a balance and some are looking at existing laws on securities to try to have a handle on the many flavours of cryptocurrencies globally.

Digital wallets: The first step

A wallet is essential to get started in cryptocurrency. Think e-banking but minus the protection of the law in the case of virtual currency, so security is the first and last thought in the crypto space.

Apart from the two main types of wallets, it should be noted that there are wallets just for one cryptocurrency and others for multi-cryptocurrency. There is also an option to have a multi-signature wallet, somewhat similar to having joint account with a bank.

Wallet notes

The cryptocurrency wallet has a public and private key with personal transaction records. The public key includes reference to the cryptocurrency account or address, not unlike the name required for one to receive a cheque payment.

Wallet formats

Different types of wallets are available to suit individual preferences.

  • Hardware wallets made by third parties which have to be purchased. These devices work somewhat like a USB device which is deemed safe and only connected when required to the Internet.
  • Web-based wallets provided, for example, by crypto exchanges, are considered hot wallets which purt users at risk.
  • Software-based wallets for desktops or mobiles are mostly available for free and could be provided by coin issuers or third parties.
  • Paper-based wallets can be printed bearing the relevant data about the cryptocurrency owned with public and private keys in QR code format. These should kept in a safe place until required in the course of crypto transaction and copies should made in case of accidents such as water damage or printed data fading through passage of time.

Crypto exchanges and marketplaces

Crypto exchanges are trading platforms for those interested in virtual currencies. The other options include websites for direct trading between buyers and sellers as well as brokers where there is no ‘market’ price but it is based on compromise between parties to the transaction.

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