What is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrencies are a form of digital currency that work as a medium of exchange. They operate entirely separately from central banks and the main difference from ordinary currencies is its anonymity and security. There are currently over 1,500 cryptocurrencies on the crypto market.
Do they have value & can you use them?
Yes, they do have actual value, unlike what the mass media might portray to you on a daily basis. There are many well known individuals such as Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt that publicly support cryptocurrency. Additionally, the adoption of cryptocurrencies has drastically improved within the last year and there are now many stores and locations where you can exchange coins for physical products and services. Here is a map where cryptocurrencies are accepted as a form of payment.
What are the main Cryptocurrencies?
At the time of writing (April, 2018) the current top 5 currencies are: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and EOS. Bitcoin has been around since the creation of the cryptocurrency market and is known as the main 'coin' or 'currency' as it is responsible for the formation of blockchain technology that followed it. Other coins, that have been around for far less longer than Bitcoin are often regarded as 'Altcoins'. These make up the rest of the market.
Current top 5 coins (www.coinmarketcap.com)
How to purchase or invest in cryptocurrencies:
There are many exchanges and websites to purchase cryptocurrencies from. The biggest sellers of the main currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are Coinbase. Once you have purchased an amount, it will be stored on a digital wallet only accessible to you and with a unique wallet code that is used to send currency and receive it. If you wish to purchase other cryptocurrencies you may have to find an exchange (essentially like a stock market) where you can use Bitcoin or Ethereum in exchange for another currency. One of the biggest crypto exchanges right now is Binance. They have recently announced a profit of over $200 million for the year 2017, which was higher than the biggest German bank 'Deutsche'.