Crypto Knowledge

Understanding cryptocurrencies can be complex, but information is abundantly shared across the internet. To get you started on your Crypto journey, we are sharing information on the history of popular cryptocurrencies, and their purpose in the Crypto world that has gained significant popularity over the last decade.  

Bitcoin was originally conceptualized in a 2008 white paper by a person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. It was launched soon after, in January of 2009 as a peer-to-peer online currency, allowing transactions to be made directly between independent network participants. The importance of this creation was that it allowed these transactions without the need for any intermediary to facilitate these transactions. According to Nakamoto’s own words, this creation was released as a way to allow “online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

In 2011, Bitcoin broke $1, and in 2013, it broke $1000 before falling and stalling out in 2014. After 2016, it continued to climb.

Ethereum, at its core, is a decentralized global software platform powered by blockchain that establishes peer-to-peer network to securely execute and verify application code called smart contracts. Smart Contracts allow participants to make transactions with one another without a trusted central authority. Created by Vitalik Buterin as an answer for Bitcoin, Ethereum’s white paper was released in 2013. Ether, or ETH, is the cryptocurrency that allows purchases to be made online; similar to Bitcoin’s functions, although different goals, features, and even technology. Ethereum’s blockchain network is powered by the Ether token, enabling users to make transactions, earn interest on their holdings through staking, store NFTs, trade crypto, and even play games.

On September 15th, 2022, at block 15537393, The Merge was completed, moving Ethereum from a Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS) system. The Merge upgrades Ethereum’s Maine with the Beacon Chain Pool of Stake System. The upgrade improves sustainability of Ethereum by lowering energy consumption, and improved scalability, security, and sustainability.

Ethereum Classic or ETC, is an open-source, decentralized blockchain-based cryptocurrency that runs smart contracts. ETC was formed in 2016 after The DOA, a smart contract on the Ethereum Blockchain, was hacked. The original blockchain was split in two, and the majority of users chose to reverse the hack and return stolen funds. Much like Ethereum, ETC recorded transactions of value, but it could also now be used as a distributed computer to run self-

executing smart contracts. Ethereum Classic facilitates smart contracts by offering decentralized governance. In other words, the contracts can be enforced without a third party involved, such as a lawyer.

Kadena was founded in 2016, on the idea that blockchain could revolutionize how the world interacts and transacts online. In order to make this work, chain technology and the ecosystem connecting the blockchain to the business world needed to be reimagined from scratch. Kadena’s main goal was to build a proprietary chain architecture and the develop the tools to make blockchain work for businesses at a speed and scale previously thought impossible.

Kadena’s advisory team consists of many experts, including Dr. Stuart Haber, the co-inventor of blockchain and one the most cited author in Satoshi Nakamoto’s 2008 Bitcoin white paper. Kadena’s sole reason for creation is to build technology that makes blockchain a relevant system for the common person. Empowered by real-world use for enterprises and entrepreneurs. 

Dogecoin (DOGE) is a Peer-To-Peer, open-source cryptocurrency that was released in December of 2013 by a product manager at the Sydney, Australia office of Adobe Inc., featuring an image of a Shiva Inu dog as its logo. Dogecoin falls under the classification of an Altcoin, which refers to most cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin. Dogecoin has unique features such as the utilization of a scrypt algorithm, low prices, and unlimited supply.

Handshake was a long-secret project spearheaded by Joseph Poon (co-creator of Bitcoin's Lightning Network and Plasma payment channels), Andrew Lee (CEO of Bitcoin payments gateway Purse), Christopher Jeffery (CTO of Purse and creator of Bitcoin node software Bcoin), Boyma Fahnbulleh (Bcoin developer), and Andrew Lee (Founder of VPN provider Private Internet Access). Handshake is a decentralized naming protocol for allowing ownership rights, such as .com or .org, which is utilized in websites, email addresses, and crypto addresses. Handshake users can purchases these rights through an auction system, where bids are submitted in the form of HNS tokens. The winner of these bids then registers the .com or .org by entering into Handshake’s PoW blockchain. Handshake remained a secret until August of 2018, where it was announced that Handshake had raised enough funds to release publicly.

Much like Bitcoin, Litecoin is a decentralized Peer-To-Peer digital currency and transaction network backed by blockchain technology. Through Litecoin’s network, users can transact between one another at relatively high speeds and low costs compared to traditional payments. Launched in 2011 by Charlie Lee, Litecoin set out to make up for the flaws within Bitcoin and enhance the existing technology surrounding it. By introducing small technical modifications to the Bitcoin source code, Litecoin allowed for faster transactions and much lower processing fees.

Tether tokens are often referred to as stablecoins, offering price stability as they are a fiat currency. This offers traders, merchants, and funds a low volatility solution when exiting positions in the market. All Tether tokens are at a 1-to-1 ratio, with the matching fiat currency of 1 USDT = 1 USD, and are backed completely by Tether’s reserves. Tether has grown significantly over the last few years, with a market cap of $77 Billion as of December 2021. These tokens allow users to complete transactions across multiple blockchains without the usual volatility of other tokens. Tether tokens exist as digital tokens built on multiple blockchains, including Algorand, Ethereum, EOS, Liquid Network, Omni, Solana, etc.

BNB is a popular cryptocurrency that was originally created by Binance in 2017. It was innitally offered during an ICO crowdfunding event in late June of the same year. The token sale offered 100,000,000 units of BNB, or 50% of the supply, with the beginning price of 1ETH for 2,700BNB or 1BTC for 20,000BNB. Initially, this token was used as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum platform, but was transferred to the main Binance Chain soon after. BNB is most notably used as a utility token, allowing users to receive discounts when paying for their trading fees. BNB can also be used to buy virtual gifts, shop using a credit card, and more. Future plans included using the coin as gas for the Binance Chain.

Ripple (XRP) is a real-time gross settlement system, or RTGS, which is a money- transferring network and currency exchange. Debuting in 2012, XRP was created by the U.S.-based tech company known as Ripple Labs Inc. and was validated by independent servers. The currency for this system is traded as XRP. XRP’s highest evaluation was in 2018, but by 2021 the price rocketed, despite concerns over regulation. XRP struggled through a court battle with the SCC, but has since begun climbing once again. XRP can be exchanged for most other currencies and helps users avoid wait times associated with banks.

Cardano is a decentralized PoS blockchain that first arrived in 2015 and was successfully launched in 2017. It has positioned itself as an alternative to the PoW blockchain like Bitcoin, most notably due to the energy-efficiency it holds from not relying on crypto mining. The plans behind Cardano’s development are ambitious to the say the least, as its developers plan on Cardano becoming fully decentralized once voting and treasury management of blockchain are added to its capabilities.

Solana is a blockchain platform designed to host decentralized and scalable applications. Its most notable ability is to process far more transactions per second and charge lower fees than that of rival blockchains such as Ethereum. Solana is a PoS blockchain, but improves on it with a PoH, using hashed timestamps to verify when transactions occur. Solana’s white paper was released in November 2017, describing the PoH concept in detail. PoH is a proof for verifying order and passage of time between events.

Polygon or MATIC, is a cryptocurrency and tech platform that launched to assist in the growth of Ethereum-compatible projects and blockchains. MATIC tokens are used to secure the Polygon network and pay transaction fees. MATIC can be bought on exchanges such as Coinbase and Kraken. In 2021, Polygon launched a new branch called Polygon Studios, focusing their efforts on gaming and NFTs. In January of 2022, Polygon brought on a new CEO, Ryan Watts from YouTube to assist in the focus on gaming technology.

Shiba Inu was created in August of 2020 by Ryoshi, describing itself as the Dogecoin Killer. Shiba Inu, at its base, is a cryptocurrency that can be purchased online. Finding success in 2021, Shiba Inu’s value climbed dramatically, but still traded for only fractions of a cent. In 2022, the price plummeted, but still remains one of the most popular cryptocurrencies on the market. Like many other cryptocurrencies, Shiba Inu operates on a decentralized network, running on the Ethereum blockchain. The blockchain database tracks and manages the cryptocurrency, verifying and recording every transaction, offering a secure platform for its users.