Kitchen Table Economics

What is Cryptocurrency and How Does it Work?

The stock market has seen major fluctuation over the past few years, but there’s one thing everyone has their eye on: cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency was created as a form of digital currency operating free of any central authority or government. Crypto is stored in digital wallets, and what was originally used solely in a peer-to-peer system, is now increasingly accepted by large corporations.

  • Microsoft allows Bitcoin payments for games and apps on Xbox.

  • Starbucks allows users to purchase gift cards with Bitcoin.

  • Tesla accepts Dogecoin as a form of payment.

  • Etsy now allows individual sellers to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

Cryptocurrencies and their transactions are recorded and stored on blockchains — immutable records that cannot be tampered with.

Currently, the top cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). While investors can invest in smaller shares of these coins, the price of one Bitcoin stands at more than a whopping $43,000.

Cryptocurrencies can be purchased in several different ways. Many traditional online trading platforms, including Robinhood and Charles Schwab now support the buying and selling of cryptocurrency. Coins can also be purchased through cryptocurrency-specific exchanges such as Coinbase.

Crypto has been on the market since 2009, evolving over the years to where it is today. Many consider crypto to be the future, but some are still skeptical. Fox Business’ Stewart Varney, recently called it a “gambling chip.”