Digital currencies have been born from and for the internet. Generally, Digital currency is secure, doesn't cost anything to use, and is available from a wide variety of sources. You can choose to keep a "wallet" on your personal computer, cell phone, or keep your digital coins on wallets maintained by trusted web sites. Digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin, to name a few, can be used for many purchases worldwide. The following is taken from Coinbase, a large, web-based Crypto dealer.
Bitcoin is digital money used for secure and instant transfer of value anywhere in the world. It is not controlled or issued by any bank or government - instead it is an open network which is managed by its users. Much in the way email improved communication by making it fast and cheap, bitcoin is an improvement on existing payment methods which were not designed for the internet era.
The value of a bitcoin is not tied or pegged to the value of any other currency. Similar to stocks or property, bitcoin’s value is determined by buying and selling in the open market. A bitcoin’s price changes in real time based on the number of people who want to buy or sell it at a given moment.
Bitcoin is traded for dollars, euros, yen, and other currencies in real time 24 hours a day. Depending on the demand for buying or selling bitcoin, the price can fluctuate from day to day. This is similar to the manner in which the value of a stock or property can go up or down based on supply and demand. Bitcoin’s value can be volatile compared to traditional currencies such as the US dollar because it is still an emerging technology.
How can I get Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies?
You can sign up with several exchanges and trade sites. Among the most popular exchanges is a currency exchange site Cryptsy.com which allows you to change from one crypto-currencies to another or several. The first crypto-currency most have heard of is Bitcoin or BTC. There are a large number of alternative currencies, some of which have been around for a while and others that seem to come and go. You would do well to stick to major coins to avoid the potential scams.
How can I purchase Bitcoin to start this adventure?
You can sign up with one or two virtual currency exchanges that deal with turning your fiat (money) into BTC. Two such entities are Coinbase.com and Circle.com. Once you become a member and have a verified account with Coinbase, you can trade cash and BTC with limits of $50,000 per day. Circle allows you to purchase BTC with a linked bank account and up to two (2) credit cards and have nominal limits of $2,500 per week.
Crypto-currencies all started with physical mining hardware that generally required some technical expertise to set up and run. This specialized hardware basically solved complex math problems and allowed you to "mine" specific coins. The hardware started evolving quite rapidly and a number of people lost significant sums of money due to the high initial cost of the hardware vs the quick fall-off in ROI or returns. If you want to get involved in mining, the best method to use is one of several web based mining sites. One that I'm personally subscribed to is Scryptsy which allows you to invest modest sums of BTC and have them automatically reinvest in "hashing" power to increase your daily/weekly/monthly income. If interested in this site, click on my referral link just below to sign up and check it out. DISCLAIMER: don't invest more than you can afford to lose. Many of these types of sites have disappeared with the subsequent loss of all investments.
Scryptsy referral link.
If you decide you'd like to try your hand at mining, you can rent other peoples hardware through Mining Rig Rentals. This site lets you rent as much hash power as you can afford and point it to basically any pool mining any type of crypto coin. A word of caution: It's very easy to rent hardware that costs more than anything it will return in mined coins. Look around and sort various columns of prospects to find the right hashrate and cost per unit of hashing.