What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that doesn’t rely on a central authority to verify transactions or create new units. Instead, it relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting.
Blockchain technology supports cryptocurrency. A blockchain consists of individual blocks of data that can contain information about anything, such as transactions made in a specific cryptocurrency. Each block of data makes a reference to the previous block, creating a chain of blocks. The reference uses cryptography to ensure the chain remains immutable so hackers are unable to change data.
There are thousands of cryptocurrencies in existence right now. That’s largely due to the ease of creating a new currency by using smart contracts. New coins can simply piggyback on an existing blockchain that already has a well-established network of computers verifying blocks.
How to pick a cryptocurrency to invest in
Before you go ahead and buy some coins or tokens just because somebody says it’s a good investment, it will pay to do some research.
First of all, it’s important to understand that picking a good cryptocurrency is not like picking a good stock. A stock represents ownership in a company that creates profits for its shareholders, or at least has the potential to do so. Owning a cryptocurrency represents ownership in a digital asset with zero intrinsic value.
What makes a cryptocurrency increase or decrease in price is simple supply and demand. If there’s increased demand and a limited supply increase, the price goes up. If supply becomes constrained, price goes up, and vice versa. So, when evaluating a cryptocurrency, the most important questions to answer are how the supply increases, and what will drive demand for the coin higher.
You can answer those questions by reading the white paper that a cryptocurrency team publishes to attract interest in their project. Look at the roadmap for a project and see if anything could spark an increase in demand. Research the team behind a project and see if they have the skills to execute their vision. Try to find a community of people already investing in the cryptocurrency and gauge their sentiment.
It’s also important to consider how much money has already flowed into a cryptocurrency. If the market cap is already very high, there may not be much potential growth left. A high price will curb demand and increase supply as early investors look to take money off the table.