For 10 years of its existence, cryptocurrencies, which were originally perceived solely as a hobby for computer geeks, are so widespread, that now they are considered a new stage in the evolution of financial instruments.
That is why everyone now should understand the cryptocurrency, at least in general terms, who wants be aware of technological innovations, which radically change our world.
Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual money, created on the basis of blockchain technology. It means that cryptocurrencies do not have a physical form and are only available in digital form as entries in a distributed registry, obeying complex cryptographic rules.
The concept of cryptocurrency came into use after the publication an article called “Crypto currency” in 2011 in the Forbes magazine. The material was dedicated to Bitcoin, which before was designated as “electronic cash” by its creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
An important feature of cryptocurrency networks – fast and cheap transfer of funds directly between users, without the participation of intermediaries, familiar to us in traditional payment systems. Assets of this kind occurs using electronic wallets, for access to which a pair of unique keys is used – public and private. Cryptocurrency sending is being implemented via transactions, the fact of execution of which is recorded on the blockchain. And since one of the main features of this technology is irreversibility, all held cryptocurrency transactions reliably protected from the possibility of fake.
Today, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies, each of which has an independent blockchain project.
The most important indicator of the popularity and relevance of cryptocurrency is its course.
Bitcoin cryptocurrency (BTC) is a unit of accounting for the exchange of value between participants of the peer-to-peer payment system with the same name. The creator of Bitcoin is a person or group of people known as Satoshi Nakamoto.
The first mention of the electronic payment system Bitcoin dates back to the fall of 2018, when a document was published which describes the purpose and principle of work of the project, which was subsequently destined to become the progenitor of all existing today cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin's birthday is January 3, 2009, when the genesis block with the first 50 BTC coins was mined. And the first transaction in the history of cryptocurrencies was the transfer of 10 bitcoins on January 12 of the same year to Hal Finney, Nakamoto's closest associate.
Unlike fiat currencies, Bitcoin has a limited emission of 21 million coins, whereby in the long run, the problem of inflation is being addressed. Besides, this cryptocurrency is decentralized, that is, it does not have а unity of management and its viability is supported solely by the participants in the system.
The emergence of new BTC coins is carried out thanks to the work of the PoW type consensus algorithm (Proof-of-Work). At the same time, participants in the system using special equipment and software for mining on the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, compete in solving complex mathematical calculations to find hashes of new blocks, for which they receive a reward in bitcoins.
Today, Bitcoin is considered as “digital gold”, that is, the main cryptocurrency asset used to accumulate values.
Ethereum Cryptocurrency (ETH) — an internal exchange unit, as well as “fuel” for the operation of the blockchain platform with the same name, launched in the summer of 2015.
The creator of Ethereum is the Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin. Initial idea for his blockchain platform he proposed back in 2013 called Bitcoin 2.0, which show his intention to launch an improved version of the main cryptocurrency.
Unlike most other coins, Ethereum not only performs a payment function, but is also used to create and activate smart contracts. And these smart contracts are a unique instrument for deploying decentralized applications (dApps) on the Ethereum platform.
Today Ethereum is on the second place in the cryptocurrency rating (after bitcoin). This position has been almost invariably held since Ethereum became the main cryptocurrency for fundraising as part of the initial coin offerings (ICOs) of many blockchain projects.
ETH emission is unlimited, however, the rate of emergence of new coins is constantly slowing down, thanks to the mechanism for increasing mining complexity, which is based so far on the PoW algorithm. In the future, Ethereum cryptocurrency mining rules will change dramatically, since it is planned to implement PoS (Proof-of-Stake).
The internal currency of the Ripple blockchain platform today is called XRP and is in 3rd place in the cryptocurrency rating.
It originally appeared in 2013, after the launch of Ripple Labs (at that time Opencoin) an innovative payment system for the banking area based on blockchain.
XRP cryptocurrency has become a major digital asset, by which fast international transactions are carried out via the Ripple network in seconds, which significantly exceeds the capabilities of both standard banking systems and most cryptocurrencies.
Despite the fact that XRP was created on the basis of the RipplePay service, launched back in 2005, which was positioned as an alternative to banks, now this cryptocurrency actually helps the banking system to improve.
XRP emission is limited to 100 billion coins, all of which have already been issued. Therefore, this cryptocurrency does not have mining. Currently, about 42 billion XRPs are in circulation, and the rest is held by Ripple.
Cryptocurrency Litecoin (LTC) is one of the first forks of Bitcoin, that is, it was created based on its code, but with some technical improvements that provide safer, cheaper, and faster transactions.
Created by LTC in October 2011 by former Google employee Charlie Lee, who for several years continued to develop his project alone.
Until January 2013, Litecoin was not a well-known cryptocurrency, but then it became more expensive in 20 times and broke into market leaders with a capitalization of $ 1 billion. Since then, LTC stubbornly does not want to leave the TOP-10 cryptocurrencies, mainly holding 5-6 positions.
As Bitcoin, Litecoin mining is based on the PoW mechanism, however, another hashing algorithm is used - Scrypt instead of SHA-256. The maximum emission of coins is limited to 84 million.
From the very beginning, the transaction speed using LTC cryptocurrency was 4 times higher than bitcoin. But in 2017 after the introduction of Lightning and SegWit technologies, the Litecoin network began to work even faster.
New Economy Movement – this is how the name of the NEM platform transcribed, an internal currency of which is the XEM token. According to the developers, this project embodies one of the most effective technologies among existing blockchains.
The launch of the XEM cryptocurrency network took place in May 2015. But the real popularity of the project came only after 2 years, after entering into partnerships with a number of major banks in Japan. Against the backdrop of these events, NEM managed to enter the TOP 10 cryptocurrency ratings, however, now its position has significantly deteriorated (25–30 place).
NEM (XEM) cryptocurrency transactions are processed in ten times faster than Ethereum. Wherein its network does not suffer from overload and scalability issues.
XEM cryptocurrency has no habitual mining, all coins were issued once in the amount of 8,999,999,999. And their distribution takes place according to the harvesting model, which is based on the account reputation of network members.
Stellar Cryptocurrency (XLM) is a fork of XRP. It was created as a rethinking of the Ripple platform by one of its developers, Jed McCaleb. On basis of the Stellar cryptocurrency, which was later renamed Lumens (lumens), the same idea of providing fast and cheap interbank payments, but unlike XRP, it is completely decentralized.
XLM transfers are confirmed in record 3-5 seconds. At the same time, the network can withstand a load of several thousand transactions per second and can be used to send or sell almost any asset, cryptocurrency and token.
Instead of mining, XLM has its own Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) with unique rules for verifying transactions with nodes and redistributing commission fees between it. In total, 100 billion XLMs were issued during the launch of the cryptocurrency. At the same time, an additional 1 billion coins are issued annually to maintain the 1% inflation model.
Zcash (ZEC) – an anonymous cryptocurrency, established in the fall of 2016 as a fork of bitcoin using the Zerocash protocol and zk-SNARK technology, using a cryptographic protocol of evidence with zero disclosure.
The main feature of the ZEC cryptocurrency is completely confidential transactions. This means that by default, only the fact of the transfer of coins is recorded in the Zcash blockchain, without specifying details of the operation (addresses of participants in the transaction, amount, etc.). However, if desired, users can create public transactions.
Zcash cryptocurrency mining is based on the Equihash algorithm. Meanwhile the creation of the block occurs every 2.5 minutes, and 20% of the remuneration to the miners is paid to the founders of the project. The maximum emission of ZEC is limited to 21 million coins, like Bitcoin.
Like Zcash, the Monero cryptocurrency (XMR) is a fork, but not Bitcoin, but an anonymous Bytecoin (BCN) coin. Launched in the spring of 2014 by a group of unknown developers.
Monero privacy technology based on ring transactions – before reaching the recipient, funds are transferred between randomly generated addresses, blending with other translations. In addition, ring signatures of user groups are used, so that it becomes impossible to determine the real sender. As a result, transactions are completely anonymous without the ability to track participants in transactions and moving amount of XMR coins.
To mine the Monero cryptocurrency, the CryptoNight PoW algorithm is used. There are no restrictions on the number of emitted coins. It is only planned to reduce the block reward 10 times after mining 18.4 million coins.
Each of the existing cryptocurrencies has a certain value. The cost of those that are not yet traded on exchanges, determined by the project team or level of investor confidence. In other cases, the cryptocurrency exchange rate is weighted average, calculated based on the ratio of demand and and offers on it on marketplaces.
On most exchanges, top cryptocurrencies are traded in pairs with the American dollar or its digital analogues – stablecoins. For example, the current Bitcoin exchange rate is $ 9400, Ethereum – $185, NEO – $11. In Asian countries, this role is taken by national currencies – yuan, yen, etc. Also popular are trading pairs of altcoins for bitcoin, ether, lightcoin.
To track cryptocurrency rates in real time, you can use charts on exchanges or specialized services like Coinmarketcap, Tradingview, BitInfoCharts, CoinGecko, etc.
The concept of capitalization came to the cryptocurrency industry from the sphere of financial markets. However, if for stock assets this indicator is calculated based on their trading turnover on exchanges, cryptocurrency capitalization is determined by a simplified scheme – the total number of all existing coins is multiplied on their price.
If we are talking about the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies, are added together the value of absolutely all issued digital assets based on the blockchain. Today, this parameter is $ 250 billion.
It is capitalization is taken into account in building cryptocurrency ratings, because it most accurately reflects their value. In addition, it is one of the key indicators, that investors are paying attention to. Because, the higher the capitalization of a particular cryptocurrency, the less its rate is vulnerable to dramatic increases, which means lower risk of investing in it.
For example, to severely affect the price of Ethereum, which ranks second in the ranking of cryptocurrencies with a capitalization of $ 20 billion, you will need to crank out transactions with assets worth millions of dollars in the market. But for “shitcoin”, which is on the 1500th place, a few thousand of dollars are enough. You can check the cryptocurrency capitalization in real time on the sites Coinmarketcap, CoinGecko, Binance Info, OnChainFX and other similar services.
The simplest ways to make money with cryptocurrency without investments are:
Actually, in all these cases, you won’t be able to earn much. In the best case, it will be about a few tens of dollars of income.
But if we talk about real earnings on cryptocurrency, then its source is primarily volatility – frequent significant fluctuations in course. Firstly, a good trader can earn both on the difference in the price of acquired assets, and on leverage trading, which makes it possible the income generation in a non-falling market.
Secondly, even if we are not talking about active trading, a long-term investment in a promising cryptocurrency project, can also bring very decent income in the amount of hundreds and even thousands of percent.
You can also try your luck in the field of cryptocurrency mining. But actually, in order to start mining and making a profit, you need a good start-up capital to purchase the appropriate equipment.