The infrastructures on which the cryptocurrency industry relies are numerous and very diverse.
The first and most important is the blockchain.
The largest blockchains are certainly those of Ethereum and Bitcoin, but Binance Smart Chain (BSC) from Binance is also increasingly used.
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What services can be used to take advantage of these cryptocurrency infrastructures?
The simplest service is to send tokens and cryptocurrencies; to use it, all you need is a wallet to deposit funds into.
The different types of wallets
Among the most used software wallets for Bitcoin are definitely Electrum, Green Wallet and recently Wasabi. But BitPay and multi-currency wallets such as Trust Wallet and Eidoo are also widely used.
However, there are also hardware wallets, which are slightly less convenient to use but more secure. The most used are register and Trezor.
In addition to these, there are also so-called custodial wallets, which are wallet services offered by third parties to which one can send his funds by delegating custody. For Bitcoin, for example, Coinbase wallet is widely used, or those of other exchanges, and Strike, based on the Lightning Networkis becoming more and more popular.
For Ethereum, the discussion is similar, except that one of the most used non-custodial wallets is My Ether Wallet (MEW). For BSC, Trust Wallet is most commonly used.
Mining and staking
However, blockchains also do other things, so much so that an even more important service is what nodes or minors provide in the case of bitcoin. In the case of Ethereum, some nodes also provide the staking service, such as Lido, although in truth many of the major providers of staking services are exchanges.
Additionally, many smart contracts also run on second- and third-generation blockchains, such as Ethereum and BSC, which in turn provide services.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX)
The most widely used smart contracts are the so-called DEXs, or decentralized exchanges, among which Uniswap and Pancake Swap come out. Curve Finance has also grown a lot lately.
Lending and borrowing platforms.
However, there are many other services provided by smart contracts, including, for example, agricultural services. It should be mentioned, however, that in addition to those already mentioned, the other two main cryptocurrency services provided by smart contracts are Makerwith its DAI stablecoin, and the Aave loan service.
Centralized exchanges, the most used cryptocurrency infrastructure on the market
This is basically what you find in the decentralized environment where real cryptocurrencies are born and live. But if you go beyond the boundaries of the decentralized world and into the one populated by centralized services, the cryptocurrency services on offer are overwhelmingly plentiful.
Indeed, the most used cryptocurrency infrastructures in the world are centralized exchanges.
An exchange is a platform that allows the exchange of cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies or other cryptocurrencies. In other words, it is the basic infrastructure on which purchases and sales occur between holders of cryptocurrency or fiat currency, and thousands of them around the world.
In addition, as mentioned before, there are also decentralized ones, although the latter are fewer in number and, above all, have much lower trading volumes.
Additionally, exchanges often allow the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies and derivatives such as futures or options, where trading volumes are now very high. In fact, derivatives allow for more sophisticated trading techniques, such as margin trading and short positionsthat is why experienced traders often prefer them.
Among the largest centralized exchanges in the world, there are certainly Binancealthough there are different preferences in different parts of the world.
For example, in the United States lately, FTX is widely used, in addition to the classic Coinbase, while in Asia, KuCoin is increasingly used, in addition to OKX. MEXC Global has also grown a lot lately.
There is also Crypto.com, well known to renowned scholarships, in particular for its sponsorships in high-level sport. In the United States, for similar reasons, Gemini is very famous.
However, derivative products are different because the most used platforms are the others. These include Bit.com, Phemex and Gate.io, although significant volumes are recorded on traditional financial platforms such as the CME in Chicago.
In fact, some of these derivatives are traded on traditional exchanges, so paradoxically these can be seen as infrastructures that also offer cryptocurrency services, albeit indirectly through financial derivatives.
However, perhaps the most famous cryptocurrency derivative is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trustalthough its trading volumes appear to have declined over the past year.
The main infrastructure for NFTs
But there is more to the crypto world than just cryptocurrencies. There is also, for example, NFT.
One of the most important frameworks for NFTs is The Polygon Blockchainwhich complements Ethereum with reduced typing and transaction costs. However, The Solana Blockchain is widely used in this perspective, mainly due to lower minting and transaction costs.
The most famous infrastructure in the NFT world is OpenSeathe most important market place in this field.
A marketplace is very similar to a stock exchange as it is a platform where you buy and sell something. The difference with an exchange is that when on an NFT market you trade NFTs for cryptocurrencies, on an exchange you trade cryptocurrencies for other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies.
Data aggregation and analysis platforms
But there is also another very important infrastructure that is often not properly taken into account, namely aggregators.
They are nothing more than services that collect data primarily from the market, i.e. exchanges, marketplaces and smart contracts, and make it available to users on a single platform. .
The most famous are certainly CoinMarketCap and CoinGeckobut DeFiLlama should also be mentioned regarding the data of the DeFi World.
The one mentioned in this article is only a minimal selection of the thousands of different frameworks behind the various cryptocurrency services, as entire categories are excluded.
Other services and infrastructure
For example, some deal with saving data on the blockchain to make it immutable, public and verifiable by everyone, and oracles that provide smart contracts with information from the outside world. Some bridges allow different blockchains to exchange tokens with each other, and some frameworks allow data to be exchanged in different systems.
However, it should be pointed out that blockchain and cryptocurrency do not always completely overlap. Certainly, any decentralized blockchain infrastructure needs a cryptocurrency to survive and function, but sometimes the role of cryptocurrencies is extremely limited in some cases. block chain platforms.
In addition, almost all non-crypto infrastructures that nevertheless provide cryptocurrency services have been excluded, except for those that offer cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges. For example, in this category we could include cryptocurrency news platforms or analytics and statistics platforms.
And as if that were not enough, this scenario could still explode in the future, for example, thanks to the metaverse or the so called Web3further multiplying the number and type of cryptocurrency infrastructure.
While most of the interest in cryptocurrency services currently focuses on the financial sphere, whether in terms of investment, speculation or transfer of value, it is not certain that this is always and only the driving force of the cryptocurrency world.
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