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What is Cryptocurrency? Surprising Answer in a 2-Minute Read

Learn about crypto without all the jargon

You’re about to discover what cryptocurrency is, in an easily digestible, two-minute read. It's not magic, it's not rocket science, it's simply the future of money and our digital lives.

What Is Crypto and How Does It Work?

Crypto, short for cryptocurrency, is a lot of things to a lot of people. But let's strip it down to the core for you.

Picture this - your physical money decides to go full digital.

  • No bank

  • No government

  • Just a network of computers managing it.

That's cryptocurrency in its simplest form.

The most famous cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, introduced in 2009 by a mysterious entity named Satoshi Nakamoto. Think of Bitcoin as digital gold - a new, secure way to store and transfer value.

But Bitcoin isn't just about sending funds to anyone anywhere in the world. What sets crypto apart from typical bank transfers or other financial services like PayPal or Alipay is the absence of a middleman.

Hold up, what's a middleman?

A middleman is a central authority, such as banks or governments, that steps into your transactions, has the power to monitor and control them, and can share your data.

Just think of the money you keep in a bank. It’s YOUR money, but the bank still controls how you access it, where you can send it, when you can send it, and so on.

In contrast, with crypto, transactions are peer-to-peer, meaning they go directly from sender to recipient with no central authority involved. Thanks to blockchain technology, your funds stay under your control, and no one can limit your access to services.

Put simply, crypto isn't just digital money, the to key to financial freedom for many people around the world.

How Many Cryptocurrencies are There?

Bitcoin, while the poster child of cryptocurrency, is far from the only player in the game.

With tens of thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, our two-minute guide can't cover them all, but there's another superstar we can't miss: Ethereum.

Consider Bitcoin as digital cash - straightforward, direct, and perfect for transferring value from one person to another without a middleman. That's already revolutionary, right?

But Ethereum takes that a step further. On top of transferring and storing value just like Bitcoin, Ethereum can also create and execute digital contracts and applications.

In other words, Ethereum takes the groundbreaking features of Bitcoin and adds a layer of programmability, paving the way for countless digital innovations in finance, social networks, games, and all the areas of our digital lives.

Everything from tokenizing stocks so people can buy fractions of shares, to powering decentralized banks or even social networks, Ethereum really takes what you can do on the internet to the next level.

To take this idea even further, there are lots of other cryptocurrencies that aim to improve on Ethereum’s functionality. And when you start to piece it together, you really start to feel the power of cryptocurrency and blockchain networks.

To dive more into what cryptocurrency is, feel free to check out this helpful video by Coin Bureau.

How to Buy Cryptocurrency

If you’re wondering how and where to buy cryptocurrency, one of the most popular ways is to buy through a cryptocurrency exchange. Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken are popular examples, but the exchange you use may depend on what’s available in your part of the world.

Once you sign up for a crypto exchange, buying is just a matter of using your card, or transferring funds from your bank to the exchange – and then buying it that way.

The great part is you can use the exchange’s website or mobile app, so you’ll have an option that’s convenient for you.

GIF showing Bitcoin purchase in Kraken app

Purchasing BTC on the Kraken Mobile App

When to Sell Your Crypto

Buying and selling is far from the only use case for cryptocurrency, but it is a popular one.

The single most important thing in crypto investing is knowing when to sell – but it’s also the most difficult part.

In fact, most people struggle with this part of their crypto journey. Understanding charts, timing, and also overcoming the emotions of fear and greed all make for a challenging time – and for most lost money.

If you want to know how the top people are able to make incredible gains, and minimize their risk, feel free to check out The Official Beginner’s Guide to Crypto Investing.

Wrapping it all up

Crypto changes the game for so many people, including you. Let’s run through the main points of what a cryptocurrency is one more time.

  • Crypto is a new form of digital money, no middleman or centralized control.

  • It works on decentralized networks to keep it secure and transparent.

  • Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency ever, is digital gold, perfect for storing and transferring value without limitations.

  • Ethereum expands on Bitcoin's features, enabling digital contracts and applications.

In the end, cryptocurrency is much more than just digital money. It's a game-changer, a power-shifter, and above all, it's a key to a future where you have full control over your assets.

So whether you're just curious, planning to invest, or wanting to dive deep into the blockchain world, remember this: crypto isn't just part of the future, it's shaping it.