By Kristin Hovencamp
Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. In 2008, when Satoshi Nakamoto published an abstract introducing Bitcoin, one could only imagine how it would transform the world. The concept, “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution,” is now a reality. Still, the world of cryptocurrency is challenging to understand.
Cryptocurrency, digital currency or virtual currency is a digital medium of exchange. Cryptocurrency uses encryption techniques to regulate the creation of monetary units and to authenticate the transfer of funds. When educating prospective users, PWC cautions that cryptocurrency has no intrinsic value, no physical form, and a central bank does not determine its supply.
Bitcoin is the most recognized cryptocurrency and the first fully independent payment network. There is a hard limit of 21 million Bitcoin, and over 18 million are in circulation today. Users can purchase, sell or create Bitcoin from anywhere globally, 24 hours a day, online, without the need for third-party verification.
Blockchain is the technology that enables Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to exist. Blockchain is a decentralized ledger of all transactions distributed across a peer-to-peer network of computers. Each secure transaction is verified and recorded in a permanent, unalterable public ledger.
Ether, which runs on the Ethereum platform, is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. However, Ethereum is more than a digital currency. The Ethereum Foundation explains, “Ethereum can be used to codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.”
Cryptocurrencies have started a technological revolution, and cryptocurrency investing evolves daily. There are over 2,000 cryptocurrencies in existence. According to Crypto.com, different cryptocurrencies exist for unique purposes, visions and users or because they have an edge that others do not. Stay tuned for what is to come next.
HAZLETT WEALTH MANAGEMENT, LLC is independent of Raymond James and is not a registered broker/dealer. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Bitcoin issuers are not registered with the SEC, and the bitcoin marketplace is currently unregulated. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are very speculative investments and involve a high degree of risk. Securities that have been classified as Bitcoin-related cannot be purchased or deposited in Raymond James client accounts.
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