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Understanding cryptocurrencies and blockchain

Posts: 132
Location: western NY (Erie County), USA; zone 6a.
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Bitcoin, BAT and other cryptocurrencies have been getting increasing exposure recently, and I have even started seeing some posts here on Permies regarding it.

I have a confession: I have difficulty conceptualizing the whole cryptocurrency/blockchain thingy. It may be a mental block I have in grasping the basics of crypto or the very idea of currency exchange and all that: way back during my college days when I was taking economics and int'l business courses for my degree (political science - Fat Lotta Good that was) I had real difficulty understanding even the notion of exchange rates between various currencies, the whole concept of “strong” and “weak” dollar/yen, whatever. I mean, I understood that currencies have different values relative to each other; that 1 USD may get you .92 Canadian dollars and so forth, but the more complicated figuring out of things like FOREX markets and profiting from all that made me queasy. (It may be related to a perceptual problem that I discovered much later in 1991; whenever someone refers to direction I have to stop and think about what they mean. For example, if you say right or left, horizontal or vertical, etc., I have to stop and think, "Oh, that's ... that way....” Even “noon” or “midnight” has me momentarily flummoxed. But I digress.) 

So, to get to the point of this, a perceptual/conceptual issue in my brain may be further taxed by the (complicated to me) basics of the technology behind crypto/blockchain. Since this all seems to be increasingly important and relevant in our lives (and also related to various interests of mine such as the decentralization of political and economic power,) I looked for an “explain to me like I'm an idiot” online source and specifically found "cryptocurrency for Dummies” on the site that publishes the famous “.....for Dummies” books.

So, in case any Permies are too embarrassed to ask about crypto, here are links to three articles I found there that have helped me to better grasp the whole thing. If any Permies understand this better and would care to share their knowledge of how this all works, especially if you are good at explaining complicated things, please feel free to add your thoughts. Thanks...

What is Cryptocurrency?

What is Blockchain and how does it work?

How mining Cryptocurrency works
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