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A beginner’s guide to how cryptocurrencies work

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A beginner’s guide to how cryptocurrencies work

From Bitcoin to blockchain, here's what to know.

PopSci,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Some cryptocurrencies are now household names, but not everyone knows how they work. 


Editorial Rating

8

Qualities

  • Background
  • For Beginners
  • Hot Topic

Recommendation

Digital currencies are thriving, as advocates, traders and investors use them for speculation and as inflation hedges and fiat currency alternatives. Would-be investors might benefit from a blockchain-101 tutorial, and that’s what technology editor Charlotte Wu offers in this primer examining distributed ledger operations, transaction processing and other details of the crypto ecosystem. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts and new entrants into the world of digital tokens will find this a basic but useful reference guide.

Summary

Cryptocurrencies are becoming more widely recognized as viable financial instruments.

Cryptocurrencies continue to gain traction as money substitutes and stores of value. Advocates believe cryptocurrencies are a transforming innovation, and governments as diverse as those of El Salvador and New York City are recognizing their legitimacy as a financial tool. But critics question the fairness of their valuation mechanisms, warn of their vulnerability to cyberattacks, cite their numerous uses in criminal enterprises and call out their enormous use of electricity. 

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About the Author

Charlotte Hu is assistant technology editor at Popular Science.


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