Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and dozens of lesser-known digital currencies frequently appear in the news, often following wild price spikes, and sometimes to cover the revolutionary blockchain technology they are built upon.
Cryptocurrency was initially conceived as a way of making international trade easier. Consumers in developing countries often lack consistent access to conventional fiat currency options such as U.S. Dollars or European Euros.
You can think of a blockchain similar to your account history on an online bank account. Transaction information gets stored in “blocks” that can be “chained” together to create a system with infinite memory, where the name originates.
A complex process called a cryptographic hash function is at the root of mining. Put simply, a hash function is a mathematical trick that takes data of any size, performs an operation on it, and outputs something of a fixed size.