HOW IS CRYPTO DIFFERENT FROM CASH?

CRYPTO VS. CASH
Crypto VS Cash Icon

HOW IS CRYPTO DIFFERENT FROM CASH?

Cash and crypto have similarities. They both have a market value and some cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin and ethereum, can act as a medium of exchange—but beyond that, they're quite different.

Cash is issued by a government. Crypto is not.


Government-looking structure with dollar signs

Crypto isn't controlled by an individual, institution, or any other authority. Instead, it's managed by blockchain technology and verified by all its users on the network.

SUPPLY


Government-looking structure showing many dots to indicate unlimited supply

Governments have complete control over the money supply, influencing how much cash is circulating at any given time.

The U.S. dollar is referred to as a "fiat currency" or "fiat money." That means it's backed by the government that issues it and not by a commodity, like gold or silver.


Crypto symbol showing fewer dots to indicate limited supply

Some cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, have a finite supply, meaning only a limited amount will ever exist. But others have an undefined supply.

DID YOU KNOW?

The U.S. dollar was backed by gold until 1971.

ACCESSIBILITY


Bank-looking structure printing cash like an ATM

Digital cash transactions (like paying for something or sending money to a friend) are made through a third party (like a bank or financial institution).

Crypto was created to remove the need for a third party and only requires the internet to complete a transaction.


Laptop showing a crypto symbol

You can withdraw cash. Crypto only exists digitally and can't be physically withdrawn. So, you'll never actually hold a bitcoin in your hand like you would a $20 bill.

FRAUD


Four laptops indicating a network in the center of a high-tech grid

Printed cash can be prone to counterfeiting.

Cryptocurrencies are designed to avoid counterfeiting, thanks to the complex network of computers that record and verify each transaction.


Block with a lock inside

By storing crypto transactions on a public, immutable blockchain, they cannot be changed or deleted, and everyone can see them.

But not all cryptocurrencies are created equal, and some coins are a higher scam risk, so always do your research before investing.

DID YOU KNOW?

Over 20,500
cryptocurrencies exist as of August 2022. But bitcoin (40%) and ethereum (19%) dominate with 59% of market cap.1

VALUE


Crypto icon on line graph with multiple high and low values

The market value of cryptocurrencies is very volatile—their worth can go up and down quickly.

In 2010, someone bought 2 pizzas for 10,000 BTC, worth $30.2 That same pizza purchase would have cost $687,900,000 in November 20213 (bitcoin's all-time high) and $192,709,000 today (September 2022).3


Dollar sign on line graph with stagnant values

A dollar in your pocket today is still a dollar tomorrow. However, the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar tends to decrease as the money supply increases.

In 1913, you could buy 30 chocolate bars for $1.4 But today, 30 chocolate bars would cost roughly $30.5

THE BOTTOM LINE

While cash and crypto both have an assigned market value and act as a medium of exchange, they have very different properties.