As popular as it has become among its adopters and investors, cryptocurrency
is still a mystery to a large segment of the population. Many people may have
heard vague rumblings about Bitcoin and the high value of the coins. Some also
might be under the impression that the coins are illegal, as there are certainly
rumors to that effect that go around from time to time.
In truth, cryptocurrency is quite legal, and it has become a force as an
investment property for those with the foresight to realize it as such. It is
also starting to make its way forward as an actual payment system and method of
connecting people, without the need for a third party to get involved to impose
bureaucracy and fees. The people who are in the dark about it are missing out on
the opportunity to get in with cryptocurrency while there is still great value
to be had from it.
That time may be running out. Each day, more and more people buy
cryptocurrency coins. In addition, institutional interest in the coins has never
been higher, meaning that it might not be long before the coins hit the
mainstream. Before that day arrives, you should take some time to try and understand cryptocurrency
and all about these mysterious tokens and the
benefits they convey to users and investors.
The Basics of Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency began with Bitcoin,
a digital token created in 2009 by a team
of developers. It sprung from an idea to return financial independence to
everyday people. These developers tried to find a way for a transaction to be
made, from peer to peer, and be verified as legitimate without the need for a
This problem was solved via the blockchain, a unique technological idea that
created a decentralized currency. By employing a network of computers all
working to verify peer-to-peer transactions, the blockchain could enable this to
happen. Bitcoin was the first coin created, as a means of payments between
parties to take place.
Soon, other developers and entrepreneurs realized that the blockchain could
be used for more than just paying and receiving money. As a result, new
cryptocurrency coins began to spring up all over the place, each trying to solve
some sort of basic problem that would unite people and free them from the
tentacles of large corporations.
Some of these coins have risen from nowhere to become successful, while
others have fallen by the wayside in a kind of survival of the fittest
Cryptocurrency as Investment
Originally, cryptocurrency, as stated above, was meant to be a tool that
solved societal problems. But the coins themselves began to take on value in
terms of their supply and demand. Bitcoin, in particular, started to rise in
value as more and more people became fascinated by the potential of this
Suddenly, cryptocurrency took on a life of its own as an investment. People
began to rush in to get on board, and the price of the coins skyrocketed out of
nowhere. Although the prices of most cryptocurrencies have fallen from their
peaks of a few years ago, they are still quite robust compared to what the coins
were worth in the early days.
As a result, many people see the coins as an either/or proposition, either an
investment or an actual method of improving their lives. The truth is that it
can be both, and that is one of the first benefits that needs to be mentioned.
Most fiat currencies like the American dollar serve a simple purpose, but
cryptocurrency is far more versatile than that.
Paying for Things with Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrency Coins
The idea behind cryptocurrency is that it should do all the things that fiat
money does but with much less hassle. At the moment, it is being held back from
reaching its full potential by the fact that not enough people and businesses
have the capability of accepting it as payment. They are missing out on the
incredible innovations that the coins can provide.
When you pay for something using, for example, a bank card or a credit card,
you are essentially providing a ridiculous amount of financial and personal
information to make this happen. Even if you want to buy something for two
dollars, practically your whole account is provided to the vendor. That’s
because these cards work on the so-called “pull” protocol; they pull all of your
data no matter the size of the transaction.
By contrast, cryptocurrency works on a “push” system. If it takes you two
Bitcoin to buy something, that bit of data is the only information that is
shared with the receiving party. In that way, privacy concerns are front and
center with cryptocurrency.
Speed of Settlement
For a small business wanting to receive payment via bank transfer or credit
card, there is often a frustrating delay before the money makes it into their
account. That can be problematic for the cash flow of that business. But a
cryptocurrency transaction will register in their account within minutes.
Since every part of a cryptocurrency transaction is verified by the network
and recorded digitally for all parties to see, the possibilities of fraud are
practically obliterated. In addition, you don’t ever have to worry about a
charge-back, as might take place with a credit card. The very nature of the
blockchain ensures that all payments go through without incident.
Free from Fees
This is a big lure for cryptocurrency adopters. The fees imposed by third
parties in overseeing payments can be significant, especially for a business
needing to process credit card transactions. With a cryptocurrency transaction,
there are no longer any fees for the seller, and only minor fees, if any,
attached to the buyer.
If you have ever tried to buy something from overseas, you know that there
are any number of charges that can be tacked onto the purchase. There might even
be some restrictions placed on the transactions made across borders, not to
mention tariffs and exchange rate issues. Cryptocurrency simply allows people to
transact no matter where they are located in the world. In divisive times, such
utility is truly worthwhile.
As you can tell, the benefits attached to using cryptocurrency as a
replacement for fiat currency are numerous. But what about the coins that
stretch beyond that and serve all kinds of purposes? The applications for these
coins are practically limitless, but we’ll examine a few of them here.
Smart contracts are one of the hallmarks of the Ethereum network,
which operates on a cryptocurrency known as Ether and is one of the few true
competitors to Bitcoin’s dominance in the crypto sphere. These contracts are set
up on the blockchain between two parties and can automatically be set into
effect once terms are met. Hence there would be no need for lawyers to come into
the picture, which often drags out the time of the settlement and adds serious
fees to the process.
Real Estate Transactions
Imagine a setup where you wouldn’t have to go through a bank to either buy or
sell a home. You could simply connect with an interested party via the
blockchain, come to terms, and then have them verified. Again, no extra fees
would enter into the process.
When you play video games, you generally have to do it by either buying an
in-home system or participating online and paying a hosting company for the
privilege (or sitting through ads). What about a decentralized gaming system,
whereby developers and players can be hooked up directly? Such scenarios already
exist on the blockchain via cryptocurrency platforms.
Cryptocurrency as a Beneficial Investment
We spoke above about how cryptocurrency has become a popular and lucrative
investment. There are many different assets that are available to the average
investor. What is it about cryptocurrency that makes it so tantalizing?
Well, for one thing, those other assets aren’t as available as you might
think. In terms of stocks and bonds, it is often the institutional investors,
such as funds, firms, banks, and other large conglomerations, that get the first
crack at the best vehicles. The average individual investor, sometimes known as
a retail investor, can get lost in the shuffle.
On the other hand, cryptocurrency isn’t yet available in most regulated
exchanges. It isn’t presented first to big investment groups whenever a coin is
created and its creators are looking for funding. The retail investors always
have the best seat at the cryptocurrency table, which is something that is an
incredible lure, especially considering its potential.
Investment Opportunities in Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency has evolved quickly into a diverse market, one with something
for everybody. There are the bigger players in the market, such as the
aforementioned Bitcoin and Ethereum, that are kind of like the blue-chip stocks
of the crypto realm. There are also the smaller, up-and-coming coins, which
allow investors to get involved for a small price and offer incredible growth
potential should they reach higher ground.
Some might be under the impression that they are too late to invest in
The fact is that the blockchain technology behind it is sound
enough that cryptocurrency could one day be as much a part of daily life as cell
phones or the internet. Considering how little knowledge has spread about the
coins to this point compared to their ultimate potential, you can see how there
is still a tremendous amount of upside.
Using Cryptocurrency to Take Control
We’ve talked to this point about the very specific benefits of using and
investing in cryptocurrency. But there is a more general feeling that the coins
tend to engender in their users. And that is the feeling that they are taking
back control of their lives.
In practically every aspect of our daily routine, we tend to rely on third
parties to facilitate the proceedings. At times, this can be a good of thing, as
the best of these entities can occasionally provide protection and comfort. But
they can also make it feel like we are losing control of our independence when
they become too prevalent.
There are times when you can feel like a tiny part of the giant mechanism of
these large corporations, and that is a helpless feeling. By using
cryptocurrency, you can start to imagine that you are regaining autonomy over
the different parts of your life. And you are also taking the power away from
these large organizations.
As an example, think about this situation: you go to use your bank card, and
you find that it isn’t working. When you contact the bank, you find that your
funds have been frozen because of some sort of suspicious activity. Even if you
haven’t done anything, the bank has every right to do this based on the terms of
service to which you agreed. They can even seize your funds, something which may
seem like a far-fetched notion but has actually happened in cash-strapped
countries in the recent past.
Cryptocurrency puts you in charge of your funds. You are not beholden to a
bank, and you don’t have to answer to them in any way to gain access to your
money or to buy something with it. The coins are yours and yours alone.
Throughout this article, the different benefits to cryptocurrency have been
described. But the best method of discovering all of this is to find out for
yourself. It is an easy process to gain possession of a digital wallet, buy some
coins, and start to experience the world of cryptocurrency yourself.
What you’ll start to realize is that it really isn’t as complicated a
situation as it might seem, even if you’re not a technological expert. You also
might experience the double whammy unique to cryptocurrency. It will be a boost
to your everyday life when it puts you back in charge, and it will be a boost to
your bank account if your coins rise in value.
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