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What is Cryptocurrency?

Video Transcript

From Super Bowl ads to your social media feeds, cryptocurrency, or crypto for short, is literally everywhere.

But what exactly is it?
Crypto is a virtual currency, or digital money, designed to be used over the Internet. Individual units of cryptocurrencies can be referred to as a coin, or a token. And there are thousands - and I mean thousands of different cryptocurrencies - out there, like Ethereum or Solana or Dogecoin.

But the biggest and most valuable of them all is Bitcoin. Bitcoin, which launched way back in 2008, was the first cryptocurrency, and is by far the most well-known coin out there. Crypto makes it possible to transfer funds without the need for any middleman such as a bank or a payment processor, and this allows transactions to happen almost instantly across the globe at any time of day.

Cryptocurrencies are usually not issued or controlled by any government or other central authority. They're managed by a network of computers running free, open-source software. But what keeps all of this secure is a technology called a blockchain.
Cryptocurrency blockchain is - you can think of it like a big ledger or a digital record book of transactions. And this is just an ongoing, constantly re-verified record of every single transaction ever made. And each currency has its own blockchain. These records are spread across multiple computers to prevent fraud or the possibility of data loss.