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Crypto currency 101.

By Shane Fulmer

World Population review

April 23, 2024

1. Unveiling Crypto: Digital Money Redefined

Cryptocurrency is essentially digital money that operates independently of a centralized authority like a government or bank. This type of currency uses a technology called blockchain, which works like a digital ledger.

Imagine a notebook where each page records transactions and all copies of the notebook are kept in sync across thousands of computers worldwide – this is what the blockchain does for cryptocurrencies.

The most well-known examples are Bitcoin and Ethereum. Unlike regular currencies such as the dollar or euro, no single organization controls or can manipulate the value of cryptocurrencies.

Instead, their management and security are handled collectively by the users through the internet.

People use cryptocurrencies for buying goods and services, although many also invest in them similarly to stocks or gold, aiming to profit from value changes.

Cryptocurrencies are innovative because they rely on a method where every transaction is securely verified and recorded, making them a transparent and potentially more secure form of money.

2. Top Cryptocurrencies Shaping the Market

The digital currency landscape is rich with variety, each currency bringing its own utility and appeal.

As of 2024, Bitcoin remains the giant in the room with a market capitalization of $1.25 trillion, maintaining its position as the first and most widely recognized cryptocurrency since its introduction in 2009.

Ethereum follows, valued at $400 billion. It is renowned not just for its currency, ether, but also for its ability to execute "smart contracts" which are self-executing contracts with the terms directly written into code.

Other notable cryptocurrencies include Tether and USD Coin, both "stablecoins" pegged to the US dollar, providing a more stable cryptocurrency option for investors.

Binance Coin (BNB), originally created to offer discounts on trading fees, now serves broader purposes including payments. Innovative platforms like Solana offer rapid transaction capabilities, appealing to those needing speed and efficiency.

Each cryptocurrency serves a unique role, from facilitating fast payments to offering stable value storage, shaping a diverse and dynamic digital currency ecosystem.

3. Countries that Use Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is used worldwide, albeit with varying degrees of legality and acceptance. While it operates beyond traditional financial systems and governmental oversight, its legal status varies significantly from one country to another.

In the forefront, El Salvador and the Central African Republic have adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, a bold move integrating crypto into daily economic activities. However, many countries remain cautious.

The U.S., much of the EU, and several other nations have established legal frameworks that allow for cryptocurrency use, primarily focusing on regulation to ensure transparency, security, and the integrity of financial transactions.

On the other end of the spectrum, countries like China and Egypt enforce strict bans, citing financial security and adherence to traditional financial systems as primary reasons.

4. Bitcoin Mining by Country

Bitcoin mining is the method by which new bitcoins are created and transactions are confirmed across a global network. Essentially, it's like solving a very complex puzzle.

When miners solve these puzzles, they process and secure transactions, adding them to the blockchain. For their efforts, miners are rewarded with bitcoins, making it a potentially profitable activity.

The United States leads in bitcoin mining, benefiting from favorable laws and advanced technology infrastructure. Mining here is compared to exchanging foreign currency, with resources readily available in tech-friendly states like New York and Texas.

In contrast, Kazakhstan capitalizes on its coal resources to power extensive mining operations, especially around Ekibastuz. The low cost of energy and high hash rate – the speed at which computations are performed – position Kazakhstan as a key mining player globally.

This geographic variation in bitcoin mining reveals the different ways countries adapt to and capitalize on the digital economy, from America's technological hubs to Kazakhstan’s resource-rich deserts.

5. Bitcoin Ownership by Country

Bitcoin's popularity extends well beyond the affluent West, with significant uptake in emerging and frontier markets where traditional banking is scarce.

Bitcoin plays a role as a reliable financial resource in regions plagued by high inflation or instability, making it particularly appealing to young, tech-savvy individuals.

Research suggests hundreds of millions globally own Bitcoin, with ownership concentrated in less developed financial systems. Trends indicate a shift in perception of Bitcoin from a transactional currency to a long-term store of value.

Predominantly, owners are under 45, reflecting the digital native generation's embrace of technological financial innovations.

This demographic shift is driving Bitcoin’s adoption, particularly in areas lacking conventional financial services.

6. Binance: Adapting to Worldwide Laws

Binance, a leading global cryptocurrency exchange, has navigated a complex regulatory landscape since its move from China to the Cayman Islands in 2017.

Despite facing regulatory challenges, including scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice and IRS, Binance remains a favored platform among crypto traders.

While it has encountered restrictions in some of the world's largest markets, such as the UK, Japan, and certain U.S. states due to compliance issues, Binance continues to operate in various regions.

In Canada, for example, it operates with some regional restrictions but maintains a strong user base.

These challenges show Binance's resilience and adaptability in the evolving global financial ecosystem, where it continues to attract traders with its innovative services and commitment to improving regulatory compliance.

7. Binance Access Across U.S. States in 2024

As of 2024, Binance operates widely across the United States, yet its accessibility varies due to different state regulations.

Most states allow residents to use Binance's services freely, enjoying its full features for trading cryptocurrencies.

However, states like Hawaii, New York, Texas, and Vermont have restrictions that limit Binance's operations, preventing residents from engaging fully with the platform.

These restrictions stem from specific local regulations that Binance has not yet met. Consequently, residents in these states must seek alternative platforms to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies.

Despite these challenges, efforts are underway to meet regulatory requirements, potentially broadening Binance's availability.

As we wrap up, I hope we’ve helped you gain a deeper understanding of the ever-expanding universe of cryptocurrencies.

In the future editions, you’re in for more insights into the evolving world of tech and finance. Until then, keep exploring and stay ahead of the curve.

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