Published: Jan 31, 2018 5:01 a.m. ET It’s here to stay, so you might as well get up to speed Cryptocurrencies are a bit like the Kardashians: You’ve probably heard of them, but you may not really be sure why. They’re completely overexposed in the media, but still somehow shrouded in mystery.

To help you keep up with the cryptocurrencies, we’re answering some of the most-asked questions. A cryptocurrency is exchanged in the digital world using cryptography, which is essentially a system of secret messages.

In other words: There’s no physical coin or bill to put in your wallet—it’s all virtual. But cryptocurrencies do have a dollar value (and they can fluctuate wildly on a day-to-day basis).

The cryptography is how the creation and transactions of units is controlled and kept secure, and all the transactions are public. There’s no central banking system, like the Federal Reserve, managing it—nobody’s in charge, and everybody is in charge.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be fully implemented and has the most name recognition, but there are more than 1,000 different ones out there. Other popular types include Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano and Litecoin. Read more from…

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