Be sure to consider how to protect yourself from fraudsters who see cryptocurrencies as an opportunity to bilk investors. The scoring formula for online brokers and robo-advisors takes into account over 15 factors, including account fees and minimums, investment choices, customer support and mobile app capabilities. However, it’s important to note that to some, cryptocurrencies aren’t investments at all. Bitcoin enthusiasts, for example, hail it as a much-improved monetary system over our current one and would prefer we spend and accept it as everyday payment. People invest in cryptocurrencies because they believe if demand for a particular cryptocurrency rises, so too will its value. NerdWallet, Inc. is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor.

difference between cryptocurrencies

Since Bitcoin’s debut more than a decade ago, many new types of cryptocurrency have emerged. From stablecoins to non-fungible tokens to dog memes, a wide variety of cryptos are available today. What they share in common is the use of the distributed ledger technology known as the blockchain. Uniswap is the largest decentralized crypto exchange running on the Ethereum blockchain.

Why do people invest in cryptocurrencies?

When Bitcoin drops back to €75,000, you can purchase a Bitcoin and pocket the €25,000 as profit. That’s the problem addressed by a class of coins called stablecoins. A crypto wallet is a secure, digital wallet for your cryptocurrency. Learn how to choose and set up your first crypto wallet with this beginner’s guide. Cold storage is a way to store and secure cryptocurrencies in an offline environment.

difference between cryptocurrencies

Is one way of incentivizing users to help maintain an accurate historical record of who owns what on a blockchain network. Bitcoin uses proof of work, which makes this method an important part of the crypto conversation. Blockchains rely on users to collate and submit blocks of recent transactions for inclusion in the ledger, and Bitcoin’s protocol rewards them for doing so successfully. Other advocates like the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies, because it’s a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than traditional payment systems. They share many similarities with cryptocurrencies, and they can be bought and sold in many of the same marketplaces. Individual units of cryptocurrencies can be referred to as coins or tokens, depending on how they are used.


Many major cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and BNB, rely on a supply/demand balance to maintain value. This would result in a drastic price drop, as there is no longer a market for trade. Cryptocurrencies can be traded on various platforms, most notably exchanges.

Proof-of-stake is a method of securing a cryptocurrency network and achieving distributed consensus through requesting users to show ownership of a certain amount of currency. It is different from proof-of-work systems that run difficult hashing algorithms to validate electronic transactions. The scheme is largely dependent on the coin, and there is currently no standard form of it. Some cryptocurrencies use a combined proof-of-work and proof-of-stake scheme. The first decentralized cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which was first released as open-source software in 2009.

What is a Digital Asset?

One way to implement CBDCs would be for citizens to have accounts directly with the central bank . But their introduction could also create new problems, experts say, by centralizing an enormous amount of power, data, and risk within a single bank and potentially compromising privacy and cybersecurity. In the United States, policymakers have indicated they are slowly moving to regulate cryptocurrencies and the emerging DeFi sector. However, cryptocurrencies do not fit neatly into the existing regulatory framework, creating ambiguity that lawmakers will likely have to resolve. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler has called the cryptocurrency sector a “Wild West,” and urged Congress to give the SEC greater powers.

But regardless of which consensus mechanism a blockchain uses, it’s crucial that transaction fees and rewards are denominated in the network’s chosen currency. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. Regulators in several countries have warned against cryptocurrency and some have taken measures to dissuade users. However, research in 2021 by the UK’s financial regulator suggests such warnings either went unheard, or were ignored. Fewer than one in 10 potential cryptocurrency buyers were aware of consumer warnings on the FCA website, and 12% of crypto users were not aware that their holdings were not protected by statutory compensation. The FCA recommends making use of its warning list, which flags unauthorized financial firms.

Coins Versus Tokens

Ethereum has also been the blockchain behind the boom in non-fungible tokens . As decentralized platforms, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies allow individuals to engage in peer-to-peer financial transactions or enter into contracts. Ethereum vs Bitcoin In either case, there is no need for some trusted third-party intermediary such as a bank, monetary authority, court, or judge. This has the potential to disrupt the existing financial order and democratize finance.

difference between cryptocurrencies

The hack worsened an already ongoing cryptocurrency selloff by an additional $42 billion. In January 2018, Japanese exchange Coincheck reported that hackers had stolen $530M worth of cryptocurrencies. Various government agencies, departments, and courts have classified Bitcoin differently. China Central Bank banned the handling of Bitcoins by financial institutions in China in early 2014. For Ethereum, transaction fees differ by computational complexity, bandwidth use, and storage needs, while Bitcoin transaction fees differ by transaction size and whether the transaction uses SegWit.

What Are Altcoins?

In another example, the Basic Attention Token , also built on Ethereum, is used in digital advertising. The prices of Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies vary based on global supply and demand. Running nodes costs money, both in the form of hardware and electricity. So blockchain networks need a financial reward system to incentivize people to operate nodes.

Blockchain also has potential applications far beyond bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Presently, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, with many more being started daily. Katie has been writing about tech-based topics for two years, with a specific interest in cybersecurity, AI, and cryptocurrency. Katie has covered a variety of topics during her time at MUO, including crypto explainers, cybersecurity guides, VPN reviews, recent hacks, and software tutorials. With a passion for emerging tech, Katie is also excited to see what new devices and digital platforms the coming years will bring. Digital currency is more of a blanket term that can be used for various assets.

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