A Different Approach to Real-world Adoption
Maybe you’ve heard of cryptocurrency point of sale (POS) systems like the TenX & Monaco cards and thought they were the future of getting crypto in brick and mortar shops. Well, they still rely on Visa and other big name credit card companies to function.
While companies like these are still a step in the right direction for the mass-adoption of crypto, some POS systems take it one step further and put Bitcoin directly in the hands of merchants. They eliminate the need for credit card companies – one of Satoshi’s original dreams for Bitcoin. Who are they? Let’s find out. Read More
Bitcoin has not just been a trendsetter, ushering in a wave of cryptocurrencies built on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, it’s become the de facto standard for cryptocurrencies, inspiring an ever-growing legion of followers and spinoffs.
What is cryptocurrency and altcoin?
Before we take a closer look at some of these alternatives to bitcoin, let’s step back and briefly examine what we mean by terms like cryptocurrency and altcoin. A cryptocurrency, broadly defined, is virtual or digital money which takes the form of tokens or “coins.” While some cryptocurrencies have ventured into the physical world with credit cards or other projects, the large majority remain entirely intangible. The “crypto” in cryptocurrencies refers to complicated cryptography which allows for a particular digital token to be generated, stored, and transacted securely and, typically, anonymously. Alongside this important “crypto” feature of these currencies is a common commitment to decentralization; cryptocurrencies are typically developed as code by teams who build in mechanisms for issuance (often, although not always, through a process called “mining”) and other controls. Cryptocurrencies are almost always designed to be free from government manipulation and control, although as they have grown more popular this foundational aspect of the industry has come under fire. The currencies modeled after bitcoin are collectively called altcoins and have tried to present themselves as modified or improved versions of bitcoin. While some of these currencies are easier to mine than bitcoin is, there are tradeoffs, including greater risk brought on by lesser liquidity, acceptance and value retention. (For more, see our guides on bitcoin mining and bitcoin regulation.)
The cryptocurrency bear market plumbed a fresh 10-month low on Monday as Bitcoin’s biggest rival tumbled and U.S. regulators suspended trading in two securities linked to digital assets.
Ether, the second-largest virtual currency, slumped 11 percent from its level at 5 p.m. New York time on Friday, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Bitcoin declined 2.4 percent, while the market capitalization of digital assets tracked by CoinMarketCap.com shrank to about $197 billion -- down almost $640 billion from its January peak. Read More
Fiat money (or fiat currency) is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender. Cryptocurrency is not legal tender and not backed by a government.
Fiat roughly means, “let it be done.” Cryptocurrency implies, “a decentralized and digital medium of exchange governed by cryptography.” Both are currencies, but there are some notable differences: Read More