Cryptocurrency was seen by many observers as a passing fad. Yet today it is becoming a common phenomenon, even offering opportunities in the metaverse. It has thus been the subject of great media hype, but what is it exactly?
Cryptocurrency – also called crypto – was designed to function as a medium of exchange. It enables the purchase of goods and services. It uses a cryptographic system to secure and verify transactions.
Learn more about what cryptocurrency is, how to invest in it, and how to protect yourself.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that only circulates on computers. It transfers between peers, without the need for a central monetary authority such as a government or a bank. Transactions take place in a digital public ledger called “blockchain”. Transactions and this ledger are encrypted using cryptography, hence its name cryptocurrency.
Blockchain is a decentralized system. This means that it is controlled by users and computer algorithms and not by a central government. It is distributed meaning that many computers around the world host it.
Individual units of cryptocurrencies can be called parts or unique token, depending on their use. Some are intended to be units of exchange for goods and services, others are stores of value. Some are primarily designed to help run computer networks that perform more complex financial transactions.
Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies. Other cryptocurrencies go by names like “Ether (ETH)”, “Ripple (XRP)” and “Litecoin (LTC)”. Alternatives to bitcoin are called “altcoins”.
How does cryptocurrency work?
The transaction of a cryptocurrency is done between peers using software called “portfolio or Wallet”. Whoever performs a transaction uses it to transfer balances from one account to another. To transfer funds, you must have a password or private key.
Namely that all transactions are encrypted, then broadcast on the cryptocurrency network. Then you have to wait for it to be added to the public ledger. This process of recording transactions on the public ledger is called mining “.
Users can also access the ledger by downloading and running a copy of the software called the “full node” wallet. The amounts of the transactions remain visible to the public, but the identity of the author is encrypted. All transactions lead to a unique set of keys. Whoever has a set of keys can manage the value of cryptocurrency corresponding to these keys.
It should be noted that it is possible to add many transactions to a general ledger at the same time. These “blocks” of transactions are added sequentially by miners. This explains why the ledger and the technology behind it are called “chain” of “blocks”.
Proof of work and proof of stake are two techniques used to verify transactions before they are added to a blockchain.
How to invest in cryptocurrency?
To invest in cryptocurrencies safely, four basic steps must be followed.
Decide where to buy it
There are many ways to get cryptocurrencies. In fact, these can be exchanged for goods and services or cash. Moreover, these exchanges are generally done through brokers and stock exchanges.
Brokers represent third parties who buy/sell cryptocurrencies, while exchanges are online trading platforms. This is the best way for beginners.
In the market, there are a few online brokers that offer access to cryptocurrencies as well as stocks. BitFlyer for example, is the number one trading platform in Japan. It supports 5-8 popular cryptocurrencies. BitFlyer charges some of the lowest fees of any regulated exchange.
eToro is a market-leading social trading network. This brokerage firm allows traders to copy the trades of experienced investors or receive exclusive benefits for sharing their own trading strategies.
Some financial apps, like Vivid, are also a better choice for anyone looking to kick off their crypto investing journey. The latter allows, for example, to make payments and transfers, to manage more than 50 cryptocurrencies, and to store funds in more than 40 currencies.
OpenSea is a decentralized marketplace for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. It includes the ERC1155 and ERC721 assets. The sale of these can be done via an auction or at a fixed price.
Novice investors will most likely have to use regular money to buy ethereum.
The more experienced can exchange some of their cryptocurrency holdings for another type, for example bitcoin for ethereum. Note that this last type of crypto allows you to buy the famous NFTs.
Add value to account
Depending on the payment method chosen, it may sometimes be necessary credit the account. For fiat currencies, most exchanges allow debits and wire transfers. Some also allow you to finance a purchase with a credit card.
Those who already own cryptocurrencies can transfer them to their account from a digital wallet, and then use them to transact. However, it is necessary to check that the stock market platform authorizes exchanges between the assets concerned.
Choose a cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency investors have many options to choose from. However, some may not be suitable for everyone. Before investing, you must determine the objectives of the investment. Will the value of cryptocurrency increase? These questions can help make a decision.
How to protect cryptocurrency?
Having decided to buy cryptocurrencies and determined in which cryptocurrencies to invest, it is now necessary to decide how to store them safely.
This is an important choice. Crypto assets require a private key, which proves ownership of cryptocurrencies. The latter is necessary to carry out transactions. The loss of these private keys results in the loss of the cryptocurrency. If a third party obtains them, he can dispose of cryptocurrencies as they see fit.
Hence, owners are turning to digital wallets to store their assets securely. There are different options to consider when it comes to digital wallets.
Storage on the platform
Some people choose to keep their cryptocurrency on the exchange or platform where they got them. This solution has certain advantages. She entrusts the complexities to a third party who brings some expertise to the table. No more need to keep track of your own private keys, all the information is available as soon as you connect.
Due to the threat of hacking, it can be risky to leave large balances on cryptocurrency exchanges longer than necessary. There are plenty of options on the market to dive into storing your own crypto. They are generally divided into two categories: hot wallets and cold wallets.
Hot wallets have some online connectivity. This makes them easier to use, but may expose you to certain security vulnerabilities. As for cold wallets, these are offline physical devices that are inaccessible to anyone who does not have them.
Online banks that accept cryptocurrency purchases
In addition to stock exchanges, there are online banks which allow to accept crypto. For example, Société Générale is one of the innovators in this sector, in particular by offering their services on cryptocurrencies. Its subsidiary, named Forge, is dedicated to Blockchain technology as well as digital assets.
Aware of the novelties that all traditional financial institutions have to face, Axa Bank offer the possibility of investing in cryptocurrency. This online bank applies various rates accompanied by a free card. Axa Bank does not charge withdrawal fees within the euro zone.
the Credit North is one of the oldest banks in France but is constantly evolving. Currently, she guarantees total security of accounts and transactions, thanks to a dynamic cryptogram card. This is an undeniable advantage in terms of innovation.
Boursorama, a subsidiary of Société Générale, also includes many features related to cryptocurrencies. Currently, the online bank has 3 accessible cryptocurrency platforms, including Binance, Kraken and Coinbase.
Advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies inspire passionate opinions across the spectrum of investors. Here are a few reasons why some think it’s transformative technology while others worry it’s a fad.
The benefits of cryptocurrency
High earning potential
There are more than 10,000 cryptocurrencies on the market today, and each of them has its own peculiarities. But all cryptocurrencies have a few things in common, such as their tendency to experience sudden spikes in value. The prices are mainly determined by the supply of coins by miners and demand by buyers. This dynamic of supply and demand can result in high returns.
Some of the main advantages of cryptocurrencies are not related to the currencies themselves, but to the infrastructure that supports them. it’s about the blockchain. The latter is based on several decentralized computers, no hacker can access the entire chain at once. Any information stored in the blockchain is permanently protected.
Make way for a fairer and more transparent financial system
Overall, the financial system relies on third-party intermediaries that process transactions. This means that by carrying out a transaction, the user places his trust in one or more of these intermediaries. However, the recession of the early 2000s left many wondering if this was a good idea. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies offer an alternative. It allows tocarry out transactions without any intermediary.
The disadvantages of cryptocurrency
Understanding cryptocurrencies takes time and effort
Sometimes it takes a while to understand cryptocurrencies. Those who are not digitally savvy can having trouble understanding the concept of cryptocurrency (not to mention the blockchain). Also, trying to invest in an unknown area is a real risk.
An extremely volatile investment
If the price of a cryptocurrency can reach dizzying heights, it can also collapse just as quickly to reach terrifying lows. So for investors looking for stable returns, it may not be the best choice. The cryptocurrency market is fundamentally based on speculation.
Cryptocurrency Newbies Are Vulnerable to Security Threats
Certainly, cryptocurrency does not have the risks of using central intermediaries. However, this does not mean that they are completely free of security problems. Cryptocurrency owners may lose the private key that allows them to access their coins – and therefore to all their assets. And then there’s hacking, phishing, and all other malicious takeover attempts.
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What is a cryptocurrency? Here is everything you need to know
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