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Understanding cryptocurrencies and the blockchain: Lesson #2


This new 11-part series is designed for beginners who want to invest in cryptocurrencies but need more information before taking the plunge. Our goal is to provide clear and concise explanations of the fundamental concepts in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Over the following weeks, we’ll publish a weekly lesson covering one topic regarding investing in cryptocurrencies. Each lesson will take less than 5 minutes to read. At the end of the course, you will better understand how to invest in cryptocurrencies, what to invest in, and when is the right time to do it.

Did you know there’s a digital currency that’s immune to government interference, offers lightning-fast global transactions, and boasts top-notch security? In this lesson, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of cryptocurrencies, exploring how they work, the benefits they provide, and the underlying technology that powers them – blockchain.

👾What is a cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is like digital money. Instead of being a physical coin or bill that you can hold in your hand, it’s all online. The most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but there are many other types of cryptocurrencies as well.

Traditional currencies, like the dollar or the euro, are backed by governments and have physical forms like banknotes and coins. On the other hand, cryptocurrencies are entirely digital and are not backed by any government or physical commodity. Instead, they are created through a process called mining, where powerful computers solve complex mathematical problems to verify and add transactions to a public ledger called the blockchain.

What makes cryptocurrency special is that it uses advanced computer programs to track who has how much and to ensure nobody can cheat. This makes it very secure and hard to fake.

One of the key features of cryptocurrencies is that they are decentralized, meaning that any central authority or institution does not control them. This makes them immune to government interference and manipulation, which some people see as a major advantage. Cryptocurrency transactions can also be faster and cheaper than traditional financial transactions because they don’t require intermediaries like banks or payment processors.

People use cryptocurrency to buy things online or to invest in it like they would with stocks or other investments. It’s still relatively new, and only some understand it, but it’s becoming increasingly popular as a way to make payments and store value.

A cryptocurrency is a decentralized and cryptographically secured form of internet money. Despite the availability of payment apps, there are compelling reasons to consider their use. First, it is permissionless, meaning no one can prevent its use. In contrast, centralized payment services can freeze accounts and halt transactions. Second, it is censorship-resistant, making it virtually impossible for hackers or other attackers to shut it down. Finally, it provides a fast and cost-effective way to transfer money globally, with transactions taking mere seconds and costing only a fraction of the price of international wire transfers.

🔗What is a blockchain?

Blockchain is one of the underlying technologies that a cryptocurrency is based on. A blockchain is a distributed database technology that allows multiple parties to maintain a shared database without a central authority. It is often used for maintaining a secure and transparent record of transactions, and it has gained popularity in recent years as the foundation for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

At its core, a blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions stored across a computer network. Each block in the chain contains a list of transactions and a unique cryptographic signature called a “hash” that links it to the previous block in the chain. This creates a secure and tamper-proof record of all the transactions that have taken place on the network.

The decentralized nature of the blockchain means no central point of control or failure. Instead, the network is maintained by a large group of nodes, each holding a copy of the entire blockchain. This makes it extremely difficult for any party to alter the blockchain’s contents without the consensus of the rest of the network.

Blockchain is a powerful tool for creating secure, transparent, and decentralized systems for various applications, ranging from financial transactions to supply chain management to digital identity verification.

💡In short

A blockchain is like a digital ledger that keeps track of transactions. Each transaction is verified and added to the ledger by a network of computers, making it secure and transparent. This technology can be used for many purposes, including financial transactions, supply chain management, and digital identity verification.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that use blockchain technology to make transactions. They’re unique because they’re not controlled by any government or financial institution, making them decentralized and more secure. Instead, transactions are verified and recorded on the blockchain by a network of users.

In summary, blockchain and cryptocurrencies are digital technologies that allow for secure and transparent transactions without the need for intermediaries like banks or governments. They offer a new way to manage and exchange value in the digital age.

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The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong to the author and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee, or other group or individual.

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