“Crypto” – or “crypto currency” – is a type of software system that provides transactional functionality to users via the Internet. The most important feature of the system is their decentralized nature – usually provided by the blockchain database system.
Blockchain and “crypto currency” have become key elements in the global zeitgeist recently; usually as a result of the “price” of Bitcoin skyrocketing. This has led to millions of people participating in the market, where many of the “Bitcoin exchanges” are experiencing enormous infrastructure stress as demand rises.
The most important point to realize about “crypto” is that although it actually serves a purpose (cross-border transactions via the Internet), it does not provide any other financial benefit. In other words, its “intrinsic value” is strictly limited to the ability to transact with other people; NOT in storing / disseminating value (which is what most people see).
The most important thing you need to realize is that “Bitcoin” and the like are payment networks – NOT “currencies”. This will be discussed in more depth in a second; the most important thing to realize is that “getting rich” in BTC is not a case of giving people any better economic status – it is just the process to buy “coins” at low prices and sell them higher.
To this end, when looking at “crypto”, you first need to understand how it actually works, and where its “value” really lies …
Decentralized Payment Networks …
As mentioned, the main thing to remember about “Crypto” is that it is largely a decentralized payment network . Imagine Visa/Mastercard without a central processing system.
This is important because it highlights the real reason why people are really starting to look at the “Bitcoin” proposition more deeply; it gives you the ability to send/receive money from anyone around the world, as long as they have your Bitcoin wallet address.
The reason why it attributes “price” to different “coins” is due to the misconception that “Bitcoin” will somehow give you the ability to earn money by being a “crypto” asset. Not this.
The ONLY way in which people make money using Bitcoin is because of the “increase” of its price – buying “coins” at a low price, and selling them at a higher value. While this has been great for many people, it is actually based on the “greater fool theory” – essentially saying that if you were able to “sell” the coins, it was to a “greater fool” than you.
This means that if you want to engage in the “crypto” space today, you’re usually looking at buying any of the “coins” (even “alt” coins) that are cheap (or cheap), and ride on their rising price until you sell them later. Since none of the “coins” are supported by real-world assets, there is no way to estimate when/if/how it will work.
For all intents and purposes, “Bitcoin” is a spent force.
The epic December 2017 rally signaled widespread adoption, and while its price is likely to continue to rise in the $ 20,000+range, buying one of the coins today is usually a big gamble to make it happen.
Smart money is already looking at most “alt” coins (Ethereum/Ripple etc.) with relatively small prices, but continuing to grow in price and adoption. The main thing to look at in the modern “crypto” space is the way in which different “platform” systems are actually used.
Such is the fast “technology” space; Ethereum and Ripple look like the next “Bitcoin” – with a focus on the way in which they are able to give users the ability to actually use “decentralized applications” (DApps) over their underlying networks to gain of functionality at work.
This means that if you look at the next level of “crypto” growth, it will almost certainly come from the different platforms you can identify there.