Crypto-currency is a new kind of investment. It’s like investing in stocks, but it’s not a security and it’s not traded on an exchange. Stocks are shares of companies that pay dividends, trade on an exchange, and have a price. Crypto-currency mostly doesn’t.
If you want to invest in crypto-currency you have to do your own research. If you want to know about cryptos you need to read blogs about them and keep up with the news. There are lots of different kinds of crypto-currencies: Bitcoin, which is the first one that caught on; Ethereum, which is maybe second; Litecoin, Ripple and so on.
Cryptocurrencies are digital money. They are not like dollars or euros, or even like gold or bitcoin. You can’t use them to buy anything at a store; they have to be converted by someone else. Instead of being issued by governments and banks, they are issued by private groups of people. Ever since the invention of money, the main purpose of money has been to make it possible to transfer wealth between people. Cryptocurrencies do that in a way that is decentralized and therefore almost impossible to shut down.
Cryptocurrencies are still new; you can’t invest in them without taking a high risk, and most people don’t understand how they work and don’t know enough about what makes them attractive. When people talk about investing in cryptocurrencies, they also tend to underestimate the risks and overestimate the rewards.
But there is a lot of excitement about cryptos right now, and it might be better to get into them soon than later.
What is cryptos?
Cryptos are digital money, stored in a “wallet.” They are not like paper money, which is printed and then held by a bank. Rather, the money is stored in the wallet on your computer or phone.
Cryptos are highly secure. A big part of that security comes from making it as difficult as possible to steal them from you. But even if someone stole your cryptos, he couldn’t spend them because they don’t exist in any physical form. The thief would have to somehow convert them into something real, like your checking account number. If he did that and then tried to spend them, the transaction would be rejected because there was no real money involved.
To use cryptos, you need a program that lets you “store” cryptos (the equivalent of storing a checkbook) on your computer or phone and lets you “withdraw” cryptos onto your computer or phone (the equivalent, in other words, of writing a check). The two keys that give you access to the wallet are known as a “private key” and a “public key.” The private key gives you control over the wallet; one way it can be used is to store cryptos so the wallet doesn’t need to be connected
Crypto is the term used to refer to so-called “virtual currencies” such as Bitcoin. They are created and stored electronically, and they are not regulated by any government or bank. By design, they are decentralized—they exist only in cyberspace, with no physical presence whatsoever.
The fascinating thing about crypto is how much money you can make from it. But unlike a stock market trade, which has a limited amount of leverage (you can only gain or lose a certain amount of money), in crypto you can make an unlimited amount of money—as long as you know how to do it.
The basic idea is simple: if you buy enough of these virtual coins early on, and then sell them at the right time (when their price is high), you can make millions or even billions of dollars. Of course, there are risks too. If you’re wrong about when to sell your coins, you can lose everything; if you’re right, you’ll make boatloads of money.
The conventional wisdom about cryptos is that they are a fad. But I don’t think so.
It is true that it is still early days, and that the first, biggest companies that achieved profitability will have a competitive advantage in the future. But as we can see from the rapid rise of Bitcoin and Ethereum, there is significant early-stage investment activity. And eventually it will pay off for those who got ahead of the curve.
In a world where money moves instantaneously or at least as quickly as stock, why would one want to hold things in the form of little rectangular blocks of data? Mainly because of trust. People who buy Bitcoin now don’t know for sure that it will be worth more tomorrow than today. They have to trust that their bank will not steal their money. So they have to have some other kind of guarantee: usually cash in hand. If there were more ways to move money instantaneously and more ways to hedge risk, there would be less need for different kinds of trust.
Crypto is an exciting new market that promises to be a big deal and might even be the next great Internet boom.
It has some advantages over other markets: it’s global, not just for people who can afford to buy stuff from each other; it’s decentralized, like e-mail was in the early days; it’s secure, like e-mail was in the early days. In other ways it looks a lot like the Internet, which is itself a kind of space where people compete by doing interesting things with computers.
In one respect crypto is very different from the Internet: it has no obvious business model. It isn’t clear how something you can use to pay for stuff will ever turn into something you can sell. And yet I think it’s possible that the business models that worked on the Internet will work here too.
Cryptocurrencies are money, and they have been around longer than most currencies. They are a form of digital gold, and like gold they have been used as an investment. Unlike gold, however, they are also used as a medium of exchange and a form of programmable money.
Crypto-currencies emerged in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. The most well known is Bitcoin but there are others such as Ethereum (the second-most popular) and Litecoin.
The first thing to understand about crypto-currencies is that they aren’t really money. Money is something almost everyone agrees on, in that it usually has value and can be used to buy things or services. Let’s call money the “domain” of coinage because that’s what we usually call it when we talk about it.
But coins aren’t money any more than paper currency is money or gold coins are money. Coins may be valuable but they aren’t exchangeable for anything else at will; not even themselves, unless you’re willing to accept a fixed number of coins for a fixed number of goods or services. If you take coins out of circulation by selling them, you can’t do anything with them except melt them down and make jewellery. Or you can