What is Cryptocurrency?

What is Cryptocurrency?

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Cryptocurrency, usually called crypto, is any peer-to-peer digital or virtual currency incorporating a decentralized cryptography system to verify transactions and maintain records on an open blockchain ledger.

Unlike U.S. money, crypto is not a physical coin or bill. It exists entirely as codes and keys acknowledged by secured networks and can be stored on crypto exchanges, in digital wallets or on hard drives.

Cryptocurrency, unlike fiat currency, is decentralized, meaning it is not regulated or governed by a central authority such as a government or bank. It is digital money on a peer-to-peer system that anyone in the world can use.

Like trading securities on the stock market, each digital currency has a market capitalization and price per coin, weighed against the U.S. dollar.

According to coinmarketcap, the most popular cryptocurrencies by market capitalization (as of time of writing) are:

  1. Bitcoin
  2. Ethereum
  3. Tether
  4. BNB
  5. USD Coin
  6. XRP
  7. Binance USD
  8. Cardano
  9. Dogecoin
  10. Polygon
  11. Solana
  12. Polkadot
  13. Shiba Inu
  14. Litecoin
  15. Tron
  16. Avalanche
  17. Dai
  18. Uniswap
  19. Wrapped Bitcoin
  20. Cosmos

Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, and Ether (the native coin of the Ethereum network that runs thousands of decentralized applications) are by far the two most valuable forms of digital currency (as of time of writing) and the most widely adopted.


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