A cryptocurrency can be easily defined as a digital currency. However, the concept behind the value and security of cryptocurrency is quite abstract and esoteric. Some people are confused about what makes cryptocurrency valuable and what makes it efficient as a means of storing and transferring value. Cryptocurrencies are also sometimes known as “altcoins” – short for alternative coins.
The most famous of all cryptocurrencies is Bitcoin, although there are many new contenders to the market, known as altcoins.
How crypto or cryptocurrency works?
Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called a blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers that manage and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.
Blockchain – A blockchain is a public digital ledger of transactions that records information in a way that makes it difficult to hack or alter. The technology allows a secure way for individuals to deal directly with each other, without an intermediary like a government, bank, or other third parties.
The growing list of records, called blocks, is linked together using cryptography. Each transaction is independently verified by peer-to-peer computer networks, time-stamped, and added to a growing chain of data. Once recorded, the data cannot be altered.
While popularized with the growing use of bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has promising applications for legal contracts, property sales, medical records, and any other industry that needs to authorize and record a series of actions or transactions.
How does blockchain work?
Using the Bitcoin system as an example, here’s how blockchain — also known as distributed ledger technology works.
- The purchase and sale of bitcoin is entered and transmitted to a network of powerful computers, known as nodes.
- This network of thousands of nodes around the world vie to confirm the transaction using computer algorithms. This is known as bitcoin mining. The miner who first successfully completes a new block is rewarded with bitcoin for their work. These rewards are paid for by network fees, which are passed on to the buyer and seller. The fees can rise or fall depending on the volume of transactions.
- After the purchase is cryptographically confirmed, the sale is added to a block on the distributed ledger. The majority of the network must then confirm the sale, in a process known as “proof of work.”
- The block is permanently chained to all previous blocks of bitcoin transactions, using a cryptographic fingerprint known as a hash, and the sale is complete.
The concept of blockchain technology first appeared in academic papers dating back to 1982, in a dissertation discussing “the design of a distributed computer system that can be established, maintained, and trusted by mutually suspicious groups.” But it was a 2008 paper by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” that brought an academic theory into real-world use.
- First crypto or cryptocurrency
Bitcoin, first released as open-source software in 2009, is the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Since the release of bitcoin, many other cryptocurrencies have been created.
How many cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?
More than 10,000 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The total value of all cryptocurrencies on Aug. 18, 2021, was more than $1.9 trillion — down from April’s high of $2.2 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap. The total value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $849 billion, regaining some ground from recent price lows. Still, the market value of bitcoin is down from April’s high of $1.2 trillion.
Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?
Cryptocurrencies appeal to their supporters for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most popular:
- Supporters see cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as the currency of the future and are racing to buy them now, presumably before they become more valuable
- Some supporters like the fact that cryptocurrency removes central banks from managing the money supply, since over time these banks tend to reduce the value of money via inflation
- Other supporters like the technology behind cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than traditional payment systems
- Some speculators like cryptocurrencies because they’re going up in value and have no interest in the currencies’ long-term acceptance as a way to move money
Methods of earning through crypto or cryptocurrency.
A. Investment in cryptocurrency trading
B. cryptocurrency mining
How to invest in cryptocurrency?
It’s not a very difficult task to invest in cryptocurrency, thanks to the easy access available to crypto exchanges and deep penetration of the internet and smartphones. Technology has eased access to digital currencies for potential investors. To invest in cryptocurrencies, investors need to first do some homework for choosing the right cryptocurrency and crypto exchange. One can buy these currencies using their home currencies, or US dollars, from his/her preferred exchange. However, some currencies accept investment only in Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.
What are the key steps to buy cryptocurrency?
It is pretty easy actually. The entire process involves five key steps. They are: a) Choose a crypto exchange; b) Create your account and verify it; c) Deposit the fund and start investing; d) Place your order to buy desired cryptocurrency, e) Select a storage method. However, there are also other ways to invest in cryptocurrencies. These include crypto ETFs (similar to those of gold and other ETFs) or investing in cryptocurrency-related stocks. These options are not so mainstream yet.
What is the minimum amount you can invest in cryptocurrencies?
There is no defined limit to invest in cryptocurrencies, just like there is no minimum limit to invest in stocks. However, there is some difference if you do not wish to buy an entire cryptocurrency, you are allowed to buy small units of it. Once registered, a user can add money to his/her wallet and use that amount to place an order for Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. In India, one can buy Bitcoin with a minimum capital of just Rs 100. However, the limit may vary from one crypto exchange to another.
Can you invest an Indian rupee in crypto?
Yes, you can invest in cryptocurrencies using Indian currency, but you cannot use cash for the payment. Every investor needs a bank account linked to the crypto account to add money and make a digital payment. Only KYC-approved users can make such payments. Investors should note that exchanges charge some fees when you make an investment and redeem it. The fee levied may vary from one exchange to another, and from one currency to another.
What Is Cryptocurrency Mining? How Can You Do It? All about mining.
How does mining work?
During mining, computers solve complex mathematical equations. The first coder to crack each code can authorize the transaction. In return for the service, the miner earns small amounts of cryptocurrency. Once the miner successfully solves the mathematical problem and verifies the transaction, they add the data to the public ledger, called the blockchain.
Proof of work
This is the algorithm that secures several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. It ensures that no single authority becomes so powerful that it begins to run the show. This process executed by miners is a necessary part of adding new blocks of transaction data to the blockchain. A new block is only added to the blockchain system if a miner comes up with a new winning proof-of-work. This happens after every 10 minutes in the network. The goal of proof-of-work is to prevent users from printing extra coins they didn’t earn, or double-spending.
Why is it expensive to mine tokens?
In the early days, soon after Bitcoin came into existence in 2009, it was a profitable activity. At the time, miners would get 50 BTC (then worth $6,000) for solving each equation. Since the resources required to mine a single bitcoin were also less, miners were able to pocket most of the reward as pure profit. Although the reward for Bitcoin mining has decreased over time, the value of each BTC has increased hugely. As of April 2021, the value of a Bitcoin reward is nearly $3,33,000 (roughly Rs. 2.47 crores).
But the cost of Bitcoin mining has increased dramatically. This is because the competition for tokens is much higher, and high-performance computing is now required to successfully mine the tokens. As a result, the cost of the energy consumed in this process could be huge depending on the miner’s location and the type of hardware they use.
How can you start mining?
First, get a high-performance computer. Then create a wallet for Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. Once that is done, join a mining pool to maximize profitability. These pools are groups of miners who combine their resources to increase their mining power. The profit generated from mining is then distributed evenly to all members in the pool. Mining pools allow individuals to work together and compete more effectively.
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