VIRTUAL currencies have been said to capture the imagination of some, strike fear among others, and confuse the heck out of the rest of us. What exactly are they? Should we invest in them? Where do we even start? Here are some of the most popular questions answered.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is digital money created from code. Most cryptocurrencies are built on blockchain, an incorruptible digital ledger of all economic transactions made in virtual currency. The cryptocurrency economy is free of all government oversight and monitored by a peer-to-peer Internet protocol.

What are the major cryptocurrencies?

Bitcoin (founded in 2008), Ethereum (2015) and Ripple (2014).

How much are these worth today?

Let’s just say anyone who’s bought cryptocurrency before 2017 would have made astronomical gains (see graphs below).

Why invest in cryptocurrency now?

Cryptocurrency is said to be one of the best-performing assets in the last two years. Its market added nearly US$7 billion in value in just the first quarter of 2017, going by a CoinDesk report.

Bitcoin, whose price topped US$2,000 per coin for the first time in May, has arguably entered the mainstream. You can actually use it to buy stuff now, at retailers such as Microsoft, OkCupid and even Subway.