I don’t really know what cryptocurrency is, and you probably don’t either. So here’s what I’m discovering:
- It’s digital.
- It’s not backed by the government, like fiat currency is, but you can use fiat currency to buy cryptocurrency.
- It has no real value.
- It is used more to invest and make a profit than to actually pay for things, but it can still be used to pay for things.
- Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, but there are lots of them.
- Blockchain makes cryptocurrency work. A blockchain is a chain of records on a network, and it exists for everyone who owns a cryptocurrency. Blockchain makes it impossible to just create numbers and engage in fraud.
- There has to be some sort of scarcity to make cryptocurrency work–if new cryptocurrency can be made, then it has to be some sort of regulated process.
- There has to be a way to verify and prove that you actually own and use cryptocurrency–this is related to cryptography, so there has to be strong security involved.
- You can mine bitcoin. Mining bitcoins is getting new bitcoins as a reward for auditing/verifying bitcoin transactions using computers doing intense computer things.
So could I start my own cryptocurrency? If I spent enough time and energy learning about computers and coding and blockchain, I could. But starting a new cryptocurrency doesn’t mean that it is worth anything.
Am I going to get cryptocurrency anytime soon? I’m not planning on it. But while I haven’t really trusted cryptocurrency, I still do trust the numbers in my bank and Venmo and Amazon and PayPal and the stock market–and cryptocurrency doesn’t seem that much crazier.