Getting started on cryptocurrencies and blockchains

You probably ended up here because you heard of Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, the new gold of the 21st century. Well, that is sort of true and I am going to explain to you what it is, why it is important and how to get involved.


What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital currency based on a relatively new technology called the blockchain. before we dive into Bitcoin it is best to have a basic understanding of what the blockchain is. The blockchain is a piece of open source code that maintains its data by distributing it across its own network. We call this a peer-to-peer system.

the data stored are referred to as blocks, these blocks are highly encrypted by using advanced cryptographic methods and can contain all sorts of information, think of timestamps, personal identification or even medical records.

By splitting this data into different blocks, encrypting it and distributing it all over the network there is no central point of failure. Meaning a hacker has no way of stealing the data from a local server like he is able to with banks, personal computers or other centralised databases. The network is currently deemed incorruptible.

So what is Bitcoin doing with the blockchain exactly? Bitcoin is the first digital currency using the blockchain to decentralise money. Taking out the middle man, in this case the bank. So you as a person will have 100% control over your own assets. This helps you stay anonymous, have no money stolen from you and make almost instant transactions (think 10 minutes).


Why is decentralisation so important?

There are quite a bit of reasons why decentralisation is important to the evolution of digital growth. For instance reducing the middlemen needed to control centralised assets, to reduce digital threats to those assets and to reduce collusion where participants of the network try and take advantage of other participants of the network.

Blockchains are politically decentralized (no one controls them) and architecturally decentralized (no infrastructural central point of failure) but they are logically centralized (there is one commonly agreed state and the system behaves like a single computer)

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum

To talk less cryptic, imagine a world where you can buy and sell your house without a real estate agent, the ability to earn interest on your capital without storing your money at a bank or even to connect medical records and compare diseases without exposing your identity. It will leap the common man forward while corporations are being forced to adjust into a human centered eco-system.


How to get involved with cryptocurrencies?

The crypto world seems a tough one to get into. There is a lot of complicated information and there is quite a bit of scheming going on out there. So to get things straight, start where we all started. Get yourself an account on Coinbase. This is a user friendly and limited exchange for you to trade some of your Euros and Dollars for one of the current top three cryptocurrencies out there. That is right people, there is more than one!

If you want more in-depth information as to what kind of other coins there are, how to spot market trends and how to find some potential investment opportunities. I recommend downloading my getting started guide. Herein I go into detail about cryptocurrencies, the basics of market analysis, low risk investment opportunities and some nice resources.

Download my getting started guide here


Recap

The crypto world is a vast and ever growing space. Then again it is still in its infancy and getting involved now comes with a lot of beautiful opportunities. For any questions regarding the matter, send me a message and make sure to keep in mind I am in no way an financial advisor. Nor do I claim any responsibility for any choices you make based on this article.


Want to read more of my insights? A donation will help me create more quality content. You can do so by sending any preferred attribution to the following addresses:

Bitcoin
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Ethereum
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Litecoin
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PS: I am pretty sure to be the first Dutch designer to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment!