Total cryptocurrency market capitalization is now at $321,233,020,883 according to CoinFi, a cryptocurrency market intelligence platform. Given that, it’s no surprise most know about it. But that’s where the knowing stops, according to December 2017 survey data.
Of the 1,035 American adults polled for the survey, 78 percent didn’t know where to buy cryptocurrencies and another 66% didn’t know what an “ICO” was.
“Crypto is outperforming almost every other traditional investment at the moment” says Han Chang, CoinFi co-founder “yet it’s still widely misunderstood and can be unpredictable without the right background and knowledge.” And misunderstood it is.
One of the biggest myths surrounding cryptocurrency is that it has no real value or practical application.
Turns out virtually all the major coins have real life goals, and are tied to either improving (or disrupting) existing industries.
Let’s start with Ethereum.
It was built partly to execute “smart contracts.” These smart contracts have an unlimited number of applications. For one, they can facilitate safer transactions, like fulfilling them only once certain conditions are met.
A great example of this was reported in Newsweek back in October 2017 when TechCrunch founder founder Michael Arrington bought a $60,000 apartment in Kiev, Ukraine using smart contracts and Ethereum all without ever stepping foot in the country. It can manage agreements between people, executing the terms of a contract only when the mutually agreed upon terms and conditions are met.
This is why ETH has been one of the primary platforms for ICO’s: in 2017, $5.6b was raised via ICO’s that mostly took place on the ETH platform.
Or take Ripple.
It’s focused on corporate solutions. Global inter-banking, which is dominated by the likes of SWIFT, is a $150 trillion dollar market. Ripple was designed to speed up money transfers and international transactions. Now they take days. Ripple aims to decrease transfer time to seconds while also cutting transfer costs down by 60%.
Back in January MoneyGram, the money transfer giant, agreed to test Ripple due to its claimed greater speed and efficiency. The CEO of Ripple had this to say about the test run, which perfectly encapsulates its practical application: “The inefficiencies of global payments don’t just affect banks, they also affect institutions like MoneyGram. … By using a digital asset like XRP that settles in three seconds or less, they can now move money as quickly as information.”
The most obvious benefit of Bitcoin is its role as a decentralized currency. What does this mean? That it’s not controlled by any one governing body or directly tied to any one government’s legal tender. If an entire government falls, the value of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin would likely be unaffected. This benefit may seem unnecessary to your average American, but in countries with instability this decentralization has a very real and practical impact.
Take Venezuelans. They’re seeking out Bitcoin in droves due to their country’s hyperinflation problem, as first reported in The Atlantic last year.
The author does not have positions in ETH, XRP or BTC.
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