Different types of cryptocurrencies can be classified into the following two groups:
Coins are designed to be used as a kind of currency and are created on their own blockchain. For example, Ether is a cryptocurrency based on the Ethereum blockchain.
“Altcoin” refers to any blockchain-based cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. The term “altcoin” was coined as a shorthand for “alternative to Bitcoin,” and the vast majority of altcoins were created to improve Bitcoin somehow. Namecoin, Peercoin, Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum and USD Coin (USDC) are examples of altcoins.
Some cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have a finite number of coins that help to generate demand and reinforce their perceived worth. For example, the maximum supply of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million, as determined by the Bitcoin’s creator(s).
Tokens are built on an existing blockchain but are considered to be programmable assets that enable the formulation and execution of unique smart contracts. Outside of the blockchain network, these contracts can be used to establish ownership of assets. Tokens can be used to represent units of value such as money, coins, digital assets and electricity, and can also be sent and received.
Stablecoins peg their values to various fiat currencies or assets, such as gold. Most often pegged one-to-one with the U.S. dollar, stablecoins give users a way to sell into an asset carrying the same value as a national currency, but one that can still be transacted and stored in a crypto-esque fashion within the ecosystem.
Nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, are yet another type of cryptocurrency, denoting that it is a one-of-a-kind asset and cannot be replaced. So Bitcoin, for example, is fungible, meaning you can exchange one for additional and get precisely the identical thing.
Are Cryptocurrencies legal?
Regulation has come into play worldwide with the growth of the crypto industry. Over the years, the United States has increasingly stepped up its overwatch of the space. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cracked down on initial coin offerings, or ICOs, after the mania of 2017 and 2018. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and other U.S. agencies have also engaged in various capacities.
Additionally, crypto regulation outside the U.S. has changed over time, based on evolving regulatory guidelines. The fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive from the European Union, for example, entails that crypto buying, selling and other operations must comply with certain guidelines in certain regions.
Since crypto is a relatively new industry compared with others, legal clarity does not yet exist in terms of requirements for all areas of the space. Part of such clarity includes asset classification. Bitcoin and Ether are viewed as commodities, although categorization for numerous other assets remains unclear.
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