You've signed up for a cryptocurrency exchange and made your first crypto purchase, but now what? There are a wide variety of things you can dive into within the cryptocurrency sector such as decentralized finance (DeFi), the metaverse, NFTs, staking, mining, and more. Regardless of which of these areas you're interested in learning more about, we've got you covered here at Cryptocurrency Help. On this page you'll find information about all these topics and links to Go Further with crypto.
DeFiDecentralized Finance, or DeFi, is one of the biggest attractions of the cryptocurrency sector. DeFi covers a wide range of decentralized applications (dApps) including financial services such as decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges (DEXs), lending platforms, yield aggregators, and automated market makers (AMMs). All these types of dApps provide users with opportunities to put their crypto to work in order to generate a return, which is their main attraction. This can be done through providing liquidity to a DEX/AMM, providing liquidity to a lending platform, or using a yield aggregator.
What is a DEX/AMM?Decentralized exchanges and automated market makers are ostensibly the same thing. They are both publicly funded platforms through which users can swap cryptocurrencies. What makes them publicly funded is that the liquidity on the platforms is provided by other users/parties, rather than a centralized authority. This means rather than the centralized authority being the one to collect trading fees and/or commissions, the users who provide liquidity do. Depending on the platform and the position of the user, it can be quite lucrative. There are DEXs for specific blockchain ecosystems (Uniswap - Ethereum, PancakeSwap - Binance Smart Chain, MinSwap - Cardano) and even for specific assets within that ecosystem (ShibaSwap - Shiba Inu - Ethereum), with each DEX providing incentive to users in various ways.
NFTsA non-fungible token, or NFT, is a token that exists on the blockchain. It cannot be replicated or replaced by another because of the metadata attached to it, whether that is an image, video, song, or in-game accessory. This is not to say that the image, video, or song is what makes the NFT irreplicable, rather it's the metadata that indicates that the NFT is in fact verifiably what it claims. People can always download the content associated with an NFT and then mint a new NFT with the same content attached, but only the original NFT, whether a one-off or limited quantity run with serial numbers, is the real one. This can always be verified by checking something like a block explorer and/or the history of transfers of an NFT. NFTs work in an opposing way to how a fungible token like Bitcoin works. There is no distinct difference between two Bitcoins. This means that if you have 1 BTC it can be swapped for another 1 BTC with no change in what you have. Whereas an NFT that holds the deed to a property is distinct from one that holds a piece of digital art. NFTs have a range of uses such as art, games, and music. For the most part, the best place to find NFTs is an NFT marketplace.
MetaverseIn many ways related to NFTs, the metaverse is a concept tied to the development of Web3 wherein people around the world will interact and spend time in a virtual world. If you've seen movies like Ready Player One and even the Matrix, you already have some concept of how this would work. Within the metaverse or metaverses, you'll be able to do just about everything you do in the real world, such as visit places you couldn't otherwise afford or simply attend a meeting, but you could also go shopping. Companies like Adidas, Nike, and Gucci have already started creating their presence in the metaverse, with more dipping their toes in.
Earning (Staking and Mining)Though you can earn a return by using various DeFi applications, there are also somewhat safer ways to earn a return on your crypto holdings: staking and mining. Mining is a more complex process that involves an upfront investment in equipment whether ASIC or GPU-based chips and further requires you to pay for electricity to run the miners. Staking on the other hand, simply requires you to either delegate your holdings to a validator to earn a return, or to be a validator yourself. Delegating is a much simpler process than being a validator, but being a validator will certainly give you a higher return than delegating albeit generally with the caveat that you need a lot of the asset to be a validator.