If you are looking for an industry that is growing quickly, you may have heard about cryptocurrency. This refers to decentralized currency that uses blockchain technology in the financial, technological, and commercial sectors. Cryptocurrency is discussed in conjunction with fintech, which stands for financial technology. This is an area that explores innovative financial technology that can compete with traditional methods. Common examples include artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing.
What do you need to know about fintech and cryptocurrency, and what does it mean for the future? There is a reason why this area is growing so quickly.
First, it is important to cover the basics of cryptocurrency. Even though a lot of people have heard about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency is so much more than that. It is a rapidly growing technological area that has already generated significant amounts of money while also contributing to the development of new technology that could become foundational in financial markets moving forward. That has made this a popular area of study for young professionals and students.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency, just like other types of traditional currency, is meant to be a medium of exchange for goods and services. It is also meant to store inherent value. The biggest difference between cryptocurrency and traditional currency is that cryptocurrency is decentralized. That means no central entity is responsible for governing or administrating cryptocurrency. There is no bank or central government responsible for managing cryptocurrency. All the information is stored digitally, and it is the responsibility of the network to verify every transaction that takes place. In addition, cryptocurrency is not subject to inflation. For example, only a finite number of “Bitcoins” will ever be released. Unlike the US dollar, it is impossible to simply “print more” Bitcoins. Therefore, cryptocurrency has also been seen as an important hedge against inflation.
Blockchain technology was developed by the same entity responsible for inventing Bitcoin. Many believe blockchain technology was developed in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The blockchain itself is meant to act like a spreadsheet or a ledger of all information related to cryptocurrency. There is no central database, but the blockchain itself is administered on computers that are run by people who have volunteered their computers to serve as “nodes” on the chain. It is public, and anyone can do it. The block itself is encrypted, using private and public keys to secure its information. Every transaction that is completed using cryptocurrency is stored on the blockchain. That is how confidence is ensured in the system.
What Is Crypto Mining?
Crypto mining refers to the process of “mining” new Bitcoins. These coins are not invented out of thin air but are produced when someone makes a transaction. Crypto mining aims to finalize transactions and produce blocks that can be added to the blockchain while compensating crypto miners accordingly.
How Does Crypto Mining Work?
Miners are people responsible for solving mathematical algorithms to create a new block to add to the blockchain. Before a transaction can be finalized, miners must solve algorithms and demonstrate a “proof of work” to the blockchain before the new block can be added. As more coins are released, the algorithms will get more challenging. That is how the number of Bitcoins released is kept stable, preventing inflation.
Because the algorithms are getting more complicated, most crypto miners rely on equipment to help them solve problems quickly. Some people work individually, while other people work in teams. Then, in exchange for solving mathematical equations and adding blocks to the blockchain, the miners are compensated in Bitcoin.
There are several important elements involved in crypto security. They include:
- Identity and Access Management: First, everyone using cryptocurrency or blockchain technology must use strong identity and access management. That means using two-factor authentication, protecting passwords, and making sure all private keys are kept private.
- Key Management: Because it is so important for people to hang onto their private keys, many people have external devices that are responsible for storing their passwords. If they happen to misplace their keys, they could lose access to their digital wallets forever.
- Data Privacy: Data privacy is also a very important component of cryptocurrency. Many people invest in powerful security measures, including VPNs, to ensure that their information is not stolen. Because all information related to cryptocurrency is stored digitally, data privacy is critical.
- Immutability: Immutability is also very important. Immutability means something cannot be altered or changed. It is one of the main features of blockchain technology, and people cannot tamper with the ledger in any way.
- Cryptography: Cryptography is another essential component of crypto security. Essentially, there is a strong mathematical algorithm that acts as a firewall and prevents attacks from taking place. All information on the blockchain is stored cryptographically. The information on the network hides or conceals the true information of the ledger, preventing it from being stolen.
These are a few examples of the most important components of crypto security. They all work together to provide users and the network with enhanced levels of protection.
Different Types of Cryptocurrency
Even though many people are familiar with Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are other types of cryptocurrencies as well. The most basic type of cryptocurrency is digital money. They can be used as a medium of exchange for certain goods and services.
On the other hand, some tokens are meant to represent a specific type of project. This includes DeFi projects, and they are linked to the value of the project itself. Essentially, they are like owning shares of stock in a project.
Another category is called stablecoins. They aim to peg their value to a major external reference point to reduce volatility. Because many types of cryptocurrencies are very volatile, stablecoins are meant to be a bit more stable when compared to traditional forms of cryptocurrency.
What is Fintech?
Fintech is a portmanteau that combines the words financial and technology. It is a term that applies to new and emerging technology that helps companies deliver financial services faster and with greater degrees of security. Therefore, this is a term that can be applied to a wide variety of goods and services. For example, technology that allows you to trade stocks and bonds online can be considered financial technology. The goal is to allow people to take control of their financial lives and reduce barriers between individual users and the financial market.
There are several examples of Fintech companies, and new fintech companies are starting up all the time. They include:
- Kabbage: This company provides small business loans using peer-to-peer lending, making it easier for people to launch businesses.
- Wealthfront: This automated investing service aims to help people maximize the returns on their investments using specific algorithms.
- Personal Capital: This company provides people with access to online financial advisors and investing tools.
Cryptocurrency and Fintech
Of course, one of the biggest examples of fintech in action is cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency exchanges have grown significantly over the past few years. They connect users to financial markets, allowing them to buy and sell different types of cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, cryptocurrency uses blockchain technology, which has become popular throughout the industry. Because of the security provided by blockchain technology, it can help people reduce fraud. That increases people’s confidence in the financial markets, further expanding cryptocurrency and all companies that use blockchain technology.
Future of Fintech and Crypto
Right now, it is difficult to say what the future of fintech and crypto will look like. The only certainty is that it will play a major role in the business world moving forward. Cryptocurrency itself has contributed to the development of numerous new technologies, including blockchain technology and cybersecurity, that will be foundational to financial markets in the future.
That is why it is critical for people looking to get started in this field to have the right educational background. At Keiser University, we have a wide variety of graduate programs that can give you a better understanding of fintech and crypto and how they will impact the business world moving forward. Set yourself up for a rewarding and exciting career by applying to our Master’s Degree in FinTech or any our graduate programs. Learn more about our graduate degrees today, and reach out to us with any questions you might have!