From the basics of blockchain to why we believe crypto can change the world, get simple answers to your top cryptocurrency questions. Ready to explore? Let’s head for the stars.
Every journey begins with a single step, and crypto basics is the perfect place to start. Gain light years of knowledge — no degree required.
What is cryptocurrency?
Let’s keep it simple: cryptocurrency is digital cash for the digital age. It’s similar to regular money — think $$ or €€ — but it’s digital-only, so there are no bills or coins to carry aroUnd.
How is cryptocurrency different from regular money?
Cryptocurrencies and regular money share some traits — like how you can use them to buy things or how you can transfer them electronically — but they’re also unique in interesting ways. Here are a few highlights.
|Who manages it?||A network of computers running open source code||The government that issues it|
|How does it hold its value?||Primarily based on supply and demand||Primarily based on confidence in the government that issues it|
|How is it secured?||By a network of computers that verify every transaction — anyone with an internet connection can participate||By third parties like banks and governments — only a select few can participate|
|Are there physical bills or coins?||No||Yes|
|Can I buy things with it?||Yes, but only where merchants accept it||Yes, but typically only in the country that issues it|
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency first introduced on October 31 2008 with a computer science paper that described how it would work. A few months later, on January 3, 2009, the code was released and the first bitcoins appeared.
Bitcoin is often compared to gold in that there is a limited supply — the maximum number of bitcoins that will ever enter circulation is 21 million. Unlike gold, however, bitcoin is digital, making it far easier to divide, transfer, and store.
What are the different cryptocurrencies?
Bitcoin is the oldest and most well-known cryptocurrency, but there are hundreds of others. Some cryptocurrencies, like Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash, share Bitcoin’s core characteristics but explore new ways to process transactions. Others offer a wider range of features. Ethereum, for example, can be used to run applications and create contracts.
Why is cryptocurrency exciting?
Cryptocurrency has the potential to be the fastest, easiest, cheapest, safest, and most universal way to exchange value that the world has ever seen.
And if that’s not exciting enough, crypto also provides equality of opportunity, regardless of where you were born or where you live. As long as you have a smartphone or another internet-connected device, you have the same access to cryptocurrency as everyone else.
Is cryptocurrency legal?
Yes, crypto is legal to buy, sell, send, receive, and own in most parts of the world, including all of the countries where coinbase is available. The full list of countries we support includes the USA, UK, Australia*, Canada*, Singapore*, and the following countries in Europe:
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
* Coinbase in Canada, Australia, and Singapore currently allows you to buy crypto but not sell it. We hope to add the ability to sell crypto in these countries soon.
What’s the best way to store cryptocurrency?
Storing crypto is similar to storing cash, which means you need to protect it from theft and loss.
As part of our commitment to customer security, Coinbase leads the industry by holding 98% of its cryptocurrency in offline storage that is encrypted and copied to drives and paper backups that are distributed in safe deposit boxes and vaults around the world. If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Our #1 priority is to be the most trusted cryptocurrency platform, which means our security practices are continually evolving as we evaluate and adjust our approach to address the ever-changing security landscape.
Is Coinbase a trusted platform?
Yes. coinbase is based in the USA and offers industry-leading legal compliance and security. Since we were founded in 2012, we’ve helped millions of customers in 33 countries buy, sell, and exchange more than $150 billion of cryptocurrencies.