WHAT ARE CRYPTOCURRENCIES, BLOCKCHAINS AND ICOs?

Author : Saurabh Rai

There has been a lot of buzz around Bitcoin, blockchain, initial coin offerings, ether, exchanges recently. Cryptocurrencies have caused quite the uproar in the media, and online forum. Despite the buzz, the meanings of these terms are still at times not clear to all
Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies and are also classified as a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies. Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Since then, numerous cryptocurrencies have been created.
Much of the cryptocurrencies’ popularity and security advantages are derived from some amazing technological innovation. Blockchain and smart contracts are is one of them
Blockchain relies on a public, continuously updating ledger to record all transactions that take place. Blockchain is innovative because it allows transactions to be processed without a central authority. The buyer and seller interact directly with each other, removing the need for verification by a trusted third-party intermediary. Combined with blockchain, smart contracts provide automated accountability.
Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are the hot new phenomenon in the cryptocurrency investing space. ICOs help firms raise cash for the development of new blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. Instead of issuing shares of ownership, they offer digital tokens, or “coins.” Investors gain early access to the technology, and are able to use it however they see fit.
There have been many ICOs in the past and a lot are ongoing currently, such as acuitty.io

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