How does crypto work? Explanation for beginners

Curious about digital currency? Learn how crypto works with this in-depth guide covering blockchain, cryptography, consensus mechanisms, and more.

The underlying technology behind cryptocurrency, known as blockchain, can be complex and confusing. In this article, we will explore the question “How does crypto work?” and examine the key concepts and processes involved in cryptocurrency.

Blockchain Technology

At the heart of cryptocurrency is the concept of blockchain technology. A blockchain is a decentralized ledger of transactions that is maintained by a network of computers, rather than a central authority. Each block on the blockchain contains a set of transactions, which are verified and added to the ledger by mining or other algorithms.

Mining involves solving complex mathematical equations to create a new block on the blockchain. Miners compete to create new blocks, with the first miner to solve the equation receiving a reward in the form of new cryptocurrency. This process helps to maintain the integrity and security of the blockchain by ensuring that transactions are verified and added in a transparent and tamper-proof way.

Crypto works based on blockchain and cryptography.


Cryptography is another important concept in cryptocurrency. It is used to ensure the security and privacy of transactions on the blockchain. Each user of cryptocurrency has a public and private key, which are used to send and receive transactions.

When a user initiates a transaction, they create a digital signature using their private key. This signature is then verified by the network using the user’s public key. The transaction is then added to the blockchain using a hashing algorithm, which ensures that the transaction is immutable and cannot be altered or deleted.

Mining and Consensus

As mentioned earlier, mining is the process of creating new blocks on the blockchain. In addition to creating new blocks, miners also play a crucial role in achieving consensus on the blockchain. Consensus is the process by which the network agrees on the state of the blockchain and the validity of transactions.

There are several different mechanisms for achieving consensus, including proof of work and proof of stake. Proof of work involves miners competing to create new blocks, with the first miner to solve the equation receiving a reward. Proof of stake, on the other hand, involves users staking their cryptocurrency as collateral to validate transactions.

Wallets and Transactions

Cryptocurrency is stored and transferred using digital wallets. There are two main types of wallets: hot wallets and cold wallets. Hot wallets are connected to the internet and are used for frequent transactions, while cold wallets are stored offline and are used for long-term storage of cryptocurrency.

Transactions on the blockchain are initiated by sending cryptocurrency from one wallet to another. Transactions are verified and added to the blockchain using the consensus mechanisms, and typically involve a small transaction fee to incentivize validators to include the transaction in a block.

Real-world Applications

Cryptocurrency is already being used in a variety of real-world applications, such as cross-border payments and online purchases. In addition, the underlying blockchain technology has potential applications beyond finance, such as in supply chain management and voting systems.


In conclusion, the question of “How does crypto work?” is a complex one that involves several key concepts and processes. Understanding these concepts is important for anyone interested in investing in or using cryptocurrency. While the technology behind cryptocurrency can be complex, it has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about finance and the transfer of value. As the industry continues to evolve, it is important to stay informed about the latest developments and trends in the cryptocurrency market.

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