The first step is to establish some terminology. Blockchain is the underlying technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible. The most popular cryptocurrency, and the one for which blockchain technology was first developed, goes by the name Bitcoin. A cryptocurrency, like the US dollar, is a means of exchange that is created and traded digitally and employs cryptography to regulate its monetary supply.
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What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a kind of virtual money designed to function like conventional currency. The previous ten years have seen a rise in the use of cryptocurrencies generally, and Bitcoin has become the most well followed crypto. Many individuals are attracted to cryptocurrency because it can function independently of a governing body, alleviating their fears about the potential for government surveillance and manipulation. It’s attractive because its value won’t be eroded by the central bank’s efforts to create money. In addition, the blockchain ledger mechanism used to keep track of transactions makes counterfeiting very difficult.
What is the function of cryptocurrency?
Depending on its original purpose, a cryptocurrency may or may not be used for a wide range of applications. However, this is not always the case. Although the phrase “cryptocurrency” may conjure up visions of a payment system, it is more beneficial to think of it as a token that permits you to accomplish an activity, like how a token at a video arcade allows you to play a game. You must purchase some tokens, then put them into the machine, and then the machine will let you play the game.
For instance, the goal of Bitcoin is to enable the sending of money, which enables the cryptocurrency to act as a currency. But even though it is capable of functioning in this manner, only a small percentage of retailers accept it as cash, and it is rather sluggish in comparison to other payment networks.
In a similar manner, users of the cryptocurrency Ethereum are granted the ability to construct “smart contracts,” which are a kind of contract that automatically carries out its conditions after they have been satisfied. The decentralized application platform known as the Internet Computer enables users to build websites, applications, and other web-based services. These other digital currencies stand in stark contrast to Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that was designed as a joke about the absurdity surrounding Bitcoin.
Although these cryptocurrencies could have use in the actual world (or they might not), one of the most common ways to make use of them is to speculate on their value. The values of these coins are driven up and down by speculators who are trying to make a profit off other people who are trading in and out of the assets in the same way that they are.
Even while the coins can provide the user with the ability to carry out a certain activity, most customers are merely interested in making a profit by trading them. That is the true use case for cryptocurrencies, in the eyes of many people.
What is blockchain technology?
A peer-to-peer network acts as the “peers” in a blockchain platform, which is a distributed ledger that records all transactions. Participants may validate transactions independently using this technology, eliminating the need for a central clearing body in the process. Transferring funds, settling deals, voting, and a whole host of other activities are all examples of possible uses of blockchain technology.
What are some of the benefits that come with using blockchain technology?
Since they are used all over the world, it is simple and inexpensive to transfer virtual currencies to any location on the face of the earth. Cryptocurrency payments do not require you to provide your personal information, which prevents you from being hacked or having your identity stolen. This results in an increase in the level of privacy that you have.
Because each transaction that takes place on cryptocurrency networks is recorded and distributed in a distributed ledger known as the blockchain, they are open for inspection by anybody. This eliminates the possibility of manipulating transactions, modifying the rules during the middle of the game, or changing the money supply. Because it is open-source and free, the software that forms the basis of these currencies is accessible to anybody who is interested in examining its source code.
How do cryptocurrencies and blockchains interact with one another?
Blockchain is not an add-on technology that may be used with cryptocurrency; rather, it is an essential component of cryptocurrency. In the end, cryptocurrencies have been the driving force behind the expansion and development of blockchain since the existence of cryptocurrencies is dependent on the network. However, blockchain technology has implications beyond bitcoin. The technology is not limited to the financial industry; rather, it provides several solutions that have already disrupted other businesses and will continue to do so in the years to come.
So, because initial blockchain was the database on which every bitcoin transaction was logged, the words have essentially become synonymous with one another. This may be since bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. When it was originally built in 2009, blockchain was not known by its current name at the time.
It got its name from the manner that the transactions were organized into blocks of data, which were then linked together by means of a mathematical process that generates a hash code. This is how the blockchain got its name. 6 The idea of a chain of information blocks that was cryptographically protected was first conceived of in 1982. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the idea was refined, but it was the revolutionary nature of the first cryptocurrency that catapulted the system to the forefront of public consciousness.
The outlook for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology
In the year 2028, it is anticipated that the total amount spent on blockchain will reach $104.9 billion globally. Both established institutions and start-ups in the blockchain space are progressively grabbing the momentum that this technology offers. As a result, blockchain and cryptocurrencies are causing disruptions in industries that are unrelated to the financial services industry. There is no indication that the rate of technological advancement will ever slow down.
There are some people who continue to have doubts about the future of cryptocurrencies, but many others believe that 2021 will be a watershed year for their investment profiles. It is not yet clear whether this will be a profitable investment over the long run. Some people believe that the fact that there will always be a certain number of bitcoins available will cause their value to increase over time. On the other hand, the widespread ecosystem of decentralized applications that is currently being developed on the Ethereum blockchain platform should cause its value to increase over time.
The Bottom Line
The phrases “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” are often used in conjunction with one another. Even though they represent two technologies that couldn’t be more different from one another, they are inextricably linked to one another.