What are cryptoassets?
There are thousands of different types of cryptoassets out there – or as you might know them, cryptocurrencies. You’ve probably heard of a few – Bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin and Ethereum have all been mentioned in the news recently. But what exactly is it?
Well, let’s start by breaking down the word ‘cryptocurrency’. The first part of the word, ‘crypto’, means ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ reflecting the secure technology used to record who owns what, and for making payments between users.
The second part of the word, ‘currency,’ tells us the reason cryptocurrencies were designed in the first place: a type of electronic cash.
But cryptocurrencies aren’t like the cash we carry. They exist electronically and use a peer-to-peer system. There is no central bank or government to manage the system or step in if something goes wrong.
Some people find this appealing because they think they have more control over their funds but in reality, there are significant risks. With no banks or central authority protecting you, if your funds are stolen, no one is responsible for helping you get your money back.