Finances can be complicated, and traditional finance alone can seem like a daunting topic to approach. The cutting edge world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology can feel even more unapproachable and time-consuming, especially when your regular days are already busy with work, education, and your personal life!
But just like traditional finance, cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it seems. With just a little baseline knowledge, you can get started with cryptocurrency – and the sooner you start using it, the sooner you can watch it grow in value and take advantage of the digital currencies of tomorrow.
Cryptocurrency Is the Money of The Future
Cryptocurrency, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is an internet-based, digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography — a method of protecting information and communications through the use of codes. Basically, it’s a type of money that exists online, protected by secure code.
Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology. “Decentralized” means that the currency is not tied to any single authority or group – like a government or bank. The decentralized structure allows cryptocurrencies to exist outside the control of government and central authorities.
While there are a number of ways to buy cryptocurrencies, the simplest way is to open an account with Coinbase. Coinbase is a U.S.-based digital currency exchange where consumers can buy, sell, transfer, and store digital currency. Coinbase accounts can be used to trade or hold cryptocurrencies just like a traditional bank’s savings account, or a traditional brokerage firm’s investment account. While there are a number of ways to purchase cryptocurrency, Coinbase’s strong reputation and user-friendly design makes it an ideal option for beginners.
The top 3 cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP. You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin – it’s the most famous one. Since the release of Bitcoin, over 6,000 other cryptocurrencies have been created. Bitcoin was created in late 2008 by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Bitcoin started as rewards given to people with coding capabilities who expand and maintain the blockchain by validating transactions and maintaining the network. From there, Bitcoin has grown to be spent and traded on the open market as a respected form of currency.
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Blockchain Technology Powers Cryptocurrency
Blockchain technology is what powers and supports the digital currency space. A blockchain is a chain of blocks that contains information on transactions through a secure network. It is a shared, unchangeable ledger for recording transactions and building trust. For example, a Bitcoin “block,” contains information about the Sender, Receiver, and the number of bitcoins to be transferred. When someone says something is “on the blockchain”, they mean three things: Decentralization, Transparency, and Immutability.
Decentralization gives consumers freedom to operate as the sole authority over their own funds, unlike centralized funds that require a consumer to move through a third party. A bank, for example, is a centralized entity that stores all your money – so bank consumers need to go to banks to access their funds.
Centralized services are convenient, but they’re also vulnerable to hackers and cyber-attacks because consumers’ data is held entirely in one place. But in a decentralized system, consumers’ information is stored across a network without the need for a third party authority figure like a bank.
Blockchain is transparent because it creates a public but anonymous record for ALL transactions – anyone within the network can see when and where specific bitcoins were moved, without seeing who specifically may have owned that bitcoin.
Immutability means that the information on blockchain record is almost impossible to be tampered with, ensuring integrity and trust of information on a blockchain.
Cryptocurrency is More Usable Now than Ever
According to YouGov.com, 81% of Americans have heard of at least one type of cryptocurrency. Of that 81% of Americans, 55% of millennials, 41% of Gen X’ers, and 29% of Baby Boomers believe cryptocurrencies will become a mainstream legal transaction by 2030. Anyone who prefers to be the sole voice of authority over their own financial holdings can find peace of mind in cryptocurrency, knowing that their currency will remain safely under their own custody despite whatever else may be happening in the economy.
Currently, no cryptocurrency is classified by any government as a legal tender. Bitcoin, which accounts for about 70% of all the digital-asset world’s market value, is not traditionally accepted as a form of currency in exchange for goods or services. Only now are there cutting-edge companies that allow consumers to use their cryptocurrency to purchase goods and services with cryptocurrency. Such is the case for CoinLinked.
CoinLinked is a safe and easy-to-use way for anyone to purchase any product from any website in the world using cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other stablecoins. CoinLinked basically eliminates the need for the slow, unwieldy payment processing protocols that mark the majority of today’s crypto-based e-commerce transactions. Since the platform requires no merchant integration, it effectively removes one of the major barriers to entry. Users pay CoinLinked in crypto, and CoinLinked pays merchants in their local fiat, eliminating the need for fiat on and off-ramps. The platform currently accepts Bitcoin and Ethereum, with plans to add additional cryptocurrencies in the months to come.
There are a few forward-thinking traditional companies, like Amazon, that already let you pay for purchases with your Bitcoin. But those companies come few and far in between. Not to mention the fact that there isn’t a worldwide list of “who takes crypto and who doesn’t.” There are companies that are coming out with “crypto-based credit cards,” but, again, that requires a full application process and a ton of other hurdles associated with the traditional money borrowing with a traditional credit card.
The most important thing to remember about cryptocurrency is that its value does fluctuate. So, like they say with the stock market, buy low and sell high. Keep an eye on the value regularly and ensure you start working cryptocurrency jargon into your vocabulary. With the COVID-19 pandemic shooting cryptocurrency value back up, and people needing to hold on to cash for rent and utilities, cryptocurrencies are great to have on hand and shop for essential items with. Get used to trying out the money of the future and good luck.