The Basics

What are cryptocurrencies?

Generally, cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that utilize sophisticated encryption technology to track and secure frictionless transactions between participants. This encryption makes it difficult and almost impossible to duplicate as counterfeit these transactions. Most cryptocurrencies are “open-source” and are set-up in a decentralized computing structure so there is generally no central authority or proprietary technology. This not only limits government involvement in the currencies but also allows for the user community to control the way the digital currencies or platforms evolve. 

 

Bitcoin (BTC) 

Bitcoin uses a collection of computer components called “nodes” that store Bitcoin's transactions and run Bitcoin's code. All of the nodes have access to the transaction list or ledger to allow for transparency and protect the users from cheating or altering the system. The Bitcoin miners “unlock” Bitcoin as they confirm transactions. However, there is a limit of total Bitcoin that can be mined. Three million Bitcoin are remaining to be “mined” of the 21 million authorized coins.

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Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

Bitcoin Cash was created after discrepancies in the Bitcoin community. While both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash provide general ledgers, Bitcoin Cash has a faster processing time per block. With faster processing times, Bitcoin Cash hopes to be used in medium sized day-to-day transactions. Like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash uses a proof of work mechanism to mine new coins and is capped at 21 million authorized coins.

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Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is a platform that uses its cryptocurrency, ether, to enable smart contracts, secure transactions, and distribute unique applications. Ethereum is also a programming language known as Turing-complete which allows developers to create unique distributed applications within the Ethereum platform. The currency, ether, is used in two main ways: to run applications in Ethereum and potentially monetize unique development work. 

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Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin is an open-source global payment network that offers faster block-chain generation compared to Bitcoin and uses a key-based encryption method called Scrypt for security. Scrypt requires more computer memory to “unlock” and therefore more sophisticated mining hardware compared to Bitcoin.

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Chainlink (LINK)

Chainlink is a decentralized “oracle” network that uses Ethereum tokens to transport and secure smart contracts. Chainlink uses an open-source community to continuously improve network security. The main focus of the network is sharing smart contracts with outside networks.

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EOS (EOS)

EOS is an operating system that gives users a space to create, host, and maintain decentralized applications. EOS uses block-chain to maintain the system's security and integrity. Instead of using a “pay-per-transaction” model, EOS uses staking to charge users for the service. Staking is where users “lock” a number of their coins of the exchange. The EOS platform claims to eliminate transaction fees and also conduct millions of transactions per second.

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Tezos (XTZ)

Tezos is a blockchain network that stores a decentralized ledger. Instead of mining the network's tokens called tez or tezzie, Tezos relies on a proof-of-stake confirmation mechanism. Tezos has a focus on growth and flexibility. Tezos is unique because it allows for participants to make decisions regarding changes to the network and its growth.

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Sources: 

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cryptocurrency.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bitcoin.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bitcoin-cash.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/ethereum.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/litecoin.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/tech/what-is-eos/

 https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tezos.asp