What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency powered by cryptography, a built-in security feature that makes it difficult to counterfeit, with most operating through blockchain technology. It's decentralized, meaning that instead of an institution acting as a gatekeeper, a network of computers maintain distributed ledgers and run the programs that maintain the currency's authenticity.
The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in the pursuit of decentralizing the financial system. Bitcoin has no central bank or authority, and all transactions are maintained through a disparate network of computers that manage the records. The cryptocurrency market works like this: Individuals purchase a "token" from the cryptocurrency of their choice and use it to buy things online. By switching to bitcoin cash, purchasers are able to make transactions online safely. The tokens represent entries in a public ledger. The entries use encryption methods like public key and private key pairs or hashing functions. Bitcoin retains the largest share of the market, but other "altcoins" such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero are also available.
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Cryptocurrency course curriculum
Understanding how cryptocurrency exchanges operate and what makes these financial transactions innovative can help learners navigate a changing industry. A course in the fundamentals of cryptocurrency will introduce students to the following topics:
Blockchain technology and fundamentals
Cryptography and cryptographic hash functions
Real-world aspects of Bitcoin such as wallets, mining, and transactions
Methods for preventing network attacks
Even for those in the business, mining cryptocurrencies is time-consuming and creating blocks requires proof-of-work for acceptance. Understanding these concepts now could help prepare learners for the future.
Careers in cryptocurrency
In the absence of a central authority, there is room for experts to build careers within cryptocurrency. Beyond individual learning and growth, some potential careers in the field include:
Business development representative
Machine learning engineer
Explore how online courses in cryptocurrency can advance your career and begin your learning journey today with edX.