A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to function as a medium of exchange. Unlike fiat currency, cryptocurrencies do not have a centralized authority, managing transactions and records. Instead, the technology used for cryptocurrency is blockchain, which records all transactions, with high levels of security and transparency.
Types of Cryptocurrencies
The cryptocurrency world is vast and constantly evolving. In this guide, we’ll focus on the three most popular crypto assets:
- Bitcoin: The first cryptocurrency ever created, introduced to the world in 2009. Bitcoin aims to act as a store of value and as a payment network, enabling fast, secure, and cheap transactions.
- Ethereum: Ethereum is a blockchain platform designed to execute smart contracts, which automatically enforce the rules of an agreement via programming code. Ethereum’s native token is Ether.
- Altcoins: Altcoins are any cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin or Ethereum. There are thousands of altcoins with different purposes. Some of the popular ones include Ripple, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.
How Cryptocurrencies Work
The foundation of cryptocurrencies is blockchain technology. A blockchain is a decentralized ledger that records all transactions in a public database. It ensures that every transaction is secure and immutable, with high levels of transparency.
Consensus mechanisms dictate how transactions are verified and added to the public blockchain. Proof of Work (PoW) is the most popular consensus mechanism used for Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, while Ethereum recently switched to Proof of Stake (PoS) in its new update.
Buying and Trading Crypto
Now that you have a basic understanding of cryptocurrency, you might be wondering how to buy or trade them. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Choosing an Exchange: The first step is to choose a trustworthy exchange. An exchange is a platform that allows you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. One of the popular platforms is Knaken, a Dutch-based exchange catering to a wide variety of cryptocurrencies.
- Storing Crypto Safely: After buying crypto, you must store it safely. As there are no physical assets, cryptocurrencies are stored in a digital wallet. You can either opt for a hardware wallet that stores your private key offline or use a software wallet that is available on your phone or computer.
Conclusion: Take Your First Steps
Now that you have an understanding of the basics of cryptocurrency, you can start taking your first steps towards investing in them. It’s always important to remember that the cryptocurrency market is highly volatile, and it’s essential to do your research before investing. Knaken offers a wide range of resources to help new investors, so don’t hesitate to check them out. By following the steps mentioned above and being mindful of risks, you can start investing in cryptocurrencies safely and securely.