graphic) Hidden. Concealed. "Cryptic" from Latin "crypticus" and Greek "kryptikos." See cryptography
currency) Before Bitcoin, crypto referred to encryption methods that scramble data for privacy (see cryptography
However, because of Bitcoin and the thousands of cryptocurrencies that followed, the term crypto often refers to the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry. Crypto is a network technology that began in the late 2000s with Bitcoin.
There are two major crypto architectures, known as "blockchains," and to understand crypto requires knowledge of both (see Bitcoin vs. Ethereum
). See blockchain
People Started Noticing
Bitcoin's soaring price in 2017 and 2021 caught people's attention. Also in 2021, to everyone's astonishment, non-fungible token ownership of digital art began selling for millions, although prices dropped dramatically in the following year (see NFT
). See Bitcoin
and crypto glossary
Long before people lamented "why didn't I buy Bitcoin years ago," people were using crypto to purchase drugs, fake passports, counterfeit money and hacking services on the Dark Web, where only crypto was accepted. Crypto provides some anonymity, but not complete, because Dark Web merchants send products to street addresses, and that data can be seized by authorities. See Dark Web
and Bitcoin address
No Trust in Government
Many people around the world believe that their government may confiscate their money, and storing wealth in crypto is actually safer. However, although difficult, it is not impossible for governments to intercept crypto transactions.
Centralized Institutions Are Not Fair
When banks charge 25% interest for credit card loans but pay .05% for savings accounts, it takes little imagination to feel centralized institutions are not entirely fair. As a result, when crypto trading platforms tout interest of 5%, 10% and more for lending crypto, people take notice.
Money Out of Thin Air - Why Not?
The Fed prints money out of thin air, and banks amplify the actual money on deposit using the fractional reserve system. Using algorithms, high-frequency stock traders make millions buying stock on one exchange and selling it a few milliseconds later on another. If government agencies, banks and Wall Street do it legally, why are millions of dollars' worth of crypto generated every day by crypto miners any less viable? See high-frequency trading
and Spread Networks
A Ton of New Terms
Salvation for the Future?
Bitcoin, Ethereum and countless new terms emerged in the 2020s, and this encyclopedia contains more than a thousand. For a summary of major terms, see crypto glossary
A lot of people think so, whether that future is 10 years or 100 years from now. In Greenpilled, Kevin Owocki's self-published book, Owocki summarizes the vision of leading thinkers and describes how blockchains and crypto innovations can sustain our planet well into the future.
Which Crypto War?
Although the "crypto" in cryptocurrencies is all about encryption, the headline in this 2016 issue of PC Magazine had nothing to do with digital coins. The crypto war was between tech companies and governments (see crypto war
). (Image courtesy of PCMag.com)