WHAT IS E-Currency?

E-Currency is simply the abbreviated form of electronic currency for the newbies and first-timers in the E-CURRENCY world.

As the name implies, it is a form of currency that is only available in electronic or digital form, and so, transactions on it can only take place electronically. It is recorded and stored electronically.

The bank for international settlements has said that E-money is pretty much a stored value or prepaid payment mechanism for executing payments via POS terminals, direct money transfer between parties or devices, and the internet.

Summarily, E-money is somewhat like an asset that shares several similar qualities with money. However, the significant difference between them lies in the fact that E-money is in a digital form.

You should know that there are E-money and there are digital currencies and avoid getting confused. In addition, you should note that digital currency is also a form of E-money because you can only operate and access it electronically. 

However, while all digital currencies are E-money, it is not the same vice versa because not all E-money are digital currencies. 

There are several e-currencies, simply put, and a part of the E-currency, which has gained colossal dominance today, is digital currency. 

So now, let us dive in to see what E-money really entails.

IS E-CURRENCY A SAFE MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE?

For the newbies, different questions may recur in your mind, and you may be wondering, is this a legal currency? Is it safe to invest in? Can it substitute physical currencies? And so on.

Well, there is absolutely nothing illegal about the E-Currency. It is also a form of money but not just a tangible one. The Central Bank of the Country could also regulate an E-currency, and in such a case, one would refer to it as CBDC, which is Central Bank Digital Currency. 

Nigeria now has a CBDC, which is E-naira. This E-currency is under the control of the CBN and is an official digital currency side by side with Nigeria's FIAT money, Naira. 

It means that just like the physical currency, the Government could regulate an electronic currency to become a traditional currency in the country side-by-side their Fiat money.

However, it is pretty safe and can be used to perform transactions strictly between parties without external interference from intermediaries or third parties, giving room for transparency.

You can also use it to purchase items online. However, some online communities have not approved such means of transaction for several possible reasons, like scepticism that these online companies/enterprises have towards digital currencies, or perhaps using such means of payment completely goes against their payment policy.

E-MONEY VS PHYSICAL MONEY

E-money or currency, whichever way you would call it, represents a significant aspect of today's economy because it plays a significant role in many markets and commodity exchange forums.

It is pretty advantageous because, unlike the physical currency that only gains recognition within a specific region where it is approved, the electronic currency has no border restriction. 

All you need for accessing E-money is a digital connection to devices and networks that support the accessing of E-Currency.

It means that as a Nigerian, we could use digital currency, for instance, in the foreign market where our physical currency, Naira, cannot be used.

The usage of this E-currency gets more accessible by the day because many companies such as Mondex and Visa Cash now seamlessly issue smart cards, which gives easy access to both Electronic and digital currency. 

Reassuring, yeah? Now, this is why we refer to E-money as a form of 'stored value'.

With your E-money smart card, you store your electronic or Digital funds on a card, which will be in data form. Examples of stored data cards are prepaid cards, gift cards, payroll cards, Bus ticket cards, etc. 

Aside from using smart cards, you could also access E-money by having an E-Wallet where you save up your electronic funds. 

Some E-wallet examples are Apple pay, Google wallet, etc. such wallets can only be opened and used online, i.e., via the internet.

CLASSIFICATION OF E-MONEY/CURRENCY

With this understanding, you should also know that we have different electronic currencies out in circulation, which we could all classify into two: the hard and soft E-currency.

HARD E-CURRENCY

Hard E-Currency refers to those funds that you cannot reverse after you have made a transaction, whether in the case of an error or a fraud. Some examples of hard electronic currency are Western Union, KlickEx, or Bitcoin. 

However, you can only soften a hard currency through a third-party service like using Binance.

SOFT E-CURRENCY

On the other hand, soft E-currency gives room for reversal after you have made a transaction. Two significant examples are Credit cards, PayPal etc. 

Aside from the classifications made above, it is also essential to know that electronic currency comes in different types. We have two types of Soft E-currency, centralized and decentralized electronic currency.

CENTRALIZED/REGULATED E-CURRENCY

The centralized currencies refer to the currencies that have the Government's strict regulation, control, and backing via the country's central bank, just like they do with the local currency. 

Good examples of this are our popular debit and Credit cards that we use for the electronic transfer of funds via banks, points of sale (POS) and so on. 

Centralized electronic currencies could be stored on smart cards, too, as we have explained above. And so, because almost everyone owns ATM cards today, it only indirectly means that one way or the other, almost everyone uses E-currencies.

We also have the Central bank Digital Currency (CBDC) under this. An example of this is our newly introduced E-naira. Though E-naira does not have smart cards yet, there are E-naira wallets where we could save up our E-naira funds online.

DECENTRALIZED/UNREGULATED E-CURRENCY

Decentralized currencies are not under the regulation and control of the Government. Therefore, they often refer to this currency as virtual currency or digital currency. 

These currencies have nothing to do with the country's central bank, financial regulators, government departments, ministries of finance, fiscal authorities and statistical authorities and all the government-approved financial regulating Bodies in the country. 

Instead, they are issued, controlled and manipulated by their developers. An excellent example of this is the almighty Bitcoin. 

The movement scale of Bitcoin's gains and losses are usually done on its cryptographic algorithms, which its developers are in charge of, making its growth quite challenging to predict in the E-Currency markets. 

Predicting the growth of digital currencies, Cryptocurrency precisely, by its users in the market is called speculation. 

To be more explicit, Bitcoin is a type of Cryptocurrency. All cryptocurrencies are digital/virtual currencies, but not all digital currencies are cryptocurrencies. And this means that there are more currencies when we talk about digital/virtual currency.

20 MOST POPULAR CRYPTOCURRENCIES IN RECENT TIMES

With the rate at which electronic currency has gained dominance in the economy today, there has been an incursion of large numbers of private individuals and companies each coming up with their Virtual/digital currency, especially Cryptocurrency. 

This growth is responsible for why there is a massive market for Cryptocurrency today, with over a thousand different types of Cryptocurrencies in circulation worldwide, which is pretty easy since the Government does not regulate their affairs. 

Moreover, the development of tokens has even made it much more manageable. Please read our article on tokens to know the difference between tokens and cryptocurrencies for a better understanding. 

However, of all these numerous currencies, we have drafted a list that shows the most popular digital currencies that have hit their peak of popularity in the world economy and have dominated it in recent times.

Bitcoin (BTC)

Ethereum (ETH)

Tether(USDT)

Binance Coin (BNB)

Shiba (SHIB)

Cardano (ADA)

Dogecoin (DOGE)

Solana (SOL)

XRP (XRP)

USD Coin (USDC)

Polkadot (DOT)

Uniswap (UNI)

Litecoin (LTC)

Ripple (XRP)

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

Stellar (XLM)

Chainlink (LINK)

Monero (XMR)

Cosmos (ATOM)

Compound (COMP)

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