As it stands, when you buy something or pay someone for a service, you might use a check, a credit card, or Pay Pal and that introduces a middleman that acts as a gatekeeper and charges a fee to facilitate your transaction.

Blockchain technology was created by the inventor of Bitcoin and evolved into something greater.

Blockchain allows digital information to be sent but not copied, so it's extremely secure.

In addition to using bitcoin as a payment medium, you can add investing in bitcoin to your portfolio without going through the complex steps required to set up a bitcoin wallet. Ethereum was created in 2014 and differs significantly from bitcoin in its purpose.

Bitcoin is intended to be a cash alternative while Ethereum and its token Ether are aimed at financing peer-to-peer contracts and applications development.

The base word "crypto" refers to the cryptography that's used to verify transactions and keep the virtual asset secure.

Bitcoin was the first successful cryptocurrency after it came online in 2009 as a "peer-to-peer electronic cash system." By allowing people to transact with one another directly, without a middleman, cryptocurrency is highly disruptive and anticipated to grow leaps and bounds in coming years.Litecoin has been called the "little brother" to bitcoin and was created in 2011.Litecoin differs from bitcoin in the size of transactions it's intended to support.Here's a look at three of the most common cryptocurrencies, how they work, and why you need to get savvy on this emerging trend in the coming year, particularly when it comes to your investment portfolio.Cryptocurrency is digital (i.e., virtual) currency that doesn't exist in the real world in a tangible form but can be used as a medium of exchange for buying goods or services.Expedia, Overstock.com, New Egg, Shopify, Dish Network, and Roadway Moving accept bitcoin and more companies are embracing cryptocurrency every day.