If you decide to invest in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is obviously still the dominant one. However, in 2017 its share in the crypto-market has quite dramatically fallen from 90 percent to just 40 percent. There are many options currently available, with some coins being privacy-focused, others being less open and decentralized than Bitcoin and some just outright copying it.

A cryptocurrency exchange is not part of the regular stock exchange. Below we will suggest using an exchange/broker Coinbase, but you can also use the related Coinbase Pro (the pro version of Coinbase with lower fees) once you sign up for a Coinbase account. Neither of these is the same as Wall Street and its exchanges (same general mechanics, different specifics, and different entities).
There are many reasons why the digital currencies are gaining popularity and momentum around the world. They have a finite supply that has been identified and source codes outline the exact number that can exist. Users of this currency benefit differently from users of traditional currency. For example, governments cannot intervene and banks cannot freeze your account. Since there is a limit on the amount, cryptocurrencies in that sense, are finite commodities, more like metals than a currency, and with time their value could go up. They are attractive to people who worry about direct control of national banks and governments. Privacy and anonymity are key to the ownership of these coins which many people appreciate. It is more and more difficult to identify accounts of users. Generally, transactions are cheaper than the traditional way using banks. Overall cryptocurrencies can change the financial world, and for the moment it is all still being worked on. Users of these coins still do need to remain aware of their limitations and volatility for the time being and foreseeable future. Their price flow is defined for the most part by market demand and thanks to the complicated code involved cryptocurrencies are impossible to counterfeit. They do make for a rewarding albeit uncertain investment endeavour. The long term results are still unknown but cryptocurrencies are only growing in popularity and for the immediate future they are here to stay and will most probably thrive.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme.[14][15] In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid.[16]