Blockchains, sidechains, mining – terminologies in the clandestine world of cryptocurrency keep piling up by minutes. Although it sounds unreasonable to introduce new financial terms in an already intricate world of finance, cryptocurrencies offer a much picture -needed solution to one of the biggest annoyances in today’s money market – security of transaction in a digital world. Cryptocurrency is a defining and disruptive innovation in the fast-moving world of fin-tech, a pertinent response to the need for a secure medium of exchange in the days of virtual transaction. In a time when deals are merely digits and numbers, cryptocurrency proposes to do exactly that!
In the most rudimentary form of the term, cryptocurrency is a proof-of-concept for alternative virtual currency that promises secured, anonymous transactions through peer-to-peer online mesh networking. The misnomer is more of a property rather than actual currency. Unlike everyday money, cryptocurrency models operate without a central authority, as a decentralized digital mechanism. In a distributed cryptocurrency mechanism, the money is issued, managed and endorsed by the collective community peer network – the continuous activity of which is known as mining on a peer’s machine. Successful miners receive coins too in appreciation of their time and resources utilized. Once used, the transaction information is broadcasted to a blockchain in the network under a public-key, preventing each coin from being spent twice from the same user. The blockchain can be thought of as the cashier’s register. Coins are secured behind a password-protected digital wallet representing the user.
Supply of coins in the digital currency world is pre-decided, free of manipulation, by any individual, organizations, government entities and financial institutions. The cryptocurrency system is known for its speed, as transaction activities over the digital wallets can materialize funds in a matter of minutes, compared to the traditional banking system. It is also largely irreversible by design, further bolstering the idea of anonymity and eliminating any further chances of tracing the money back to its original owner. Unfortunately, the salient features – speed, security, and anonymity – have also made crypto-coins the mode of transaction for numerous illegal trades.
Just like the money market in the real world, currency rates fluctuate in the digital coin ecosystem. Owing to the finite amount of coins, as demand for currency increases, coins inflate in value. Bitcoin is the largest and most successful cryptocurrency so far, with a market cap of $15. 3 Billion, capturing 37. 6% of the market and currently priced at $8, 997. 31. Bitcoin hit the currency market in December, 2017 by being traded at $19, 783. 21 per coin, before facing the sudden plunge in 2018. The fall is partly due to rise of alternative digital coins such as Ethereum, NPCcoin, Ripple, EOS, Litecoin and MintChip.