What are Cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency designed to be transferred between people in virtual transactions. Cryptos are built by cryptography which makes them secure and difficult to counterfeit. Most cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers.
Cryptocurrency is decentralised and not issued by a central authority. Thus, it is not affected by government interference which makes it even more attractive. Cryptocurrencies are not physical objects, existing only as data.
Compared to more traditional methods, it is easier to conduct transactions with cryptocurrencies as transfer are simplified with the use of public and private keys. Transfer fees are minimal in comparison to other financial transactions.
Bitcoin was the first blockchain-based cryptocurrency and still remains the benchmark and most valuable to this day. There are now thousands of different cryptocurrencies with different specifications. Amongst the other currencies include: Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, and a number of derived currencies, including Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold. Whilst some are direct clones of Bitcoin, others are hard forks. This is the term for a cryptocurrency that separates from an existing one via a change to the protocol that makes the previously invalid blocks/transactions valid (or vice-versa).