Wikipedia and my own explanations
WHAT IS CRYPTO CURRENCY?
What is crypto currency?
A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.
Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first decentralized crypto currency. Since then, numerous crypto currencies have been created. These are frequently called alt coins, as a blend of Bitcoin alternative. Bitcoin and its derivatives use decentralized control as opposed to centralised electronic money/central banking systems. The decentralised control is related to the use of bitcoin's blockchain transaction database in the role of a distributed ledger. Some alt coins are centralised, controlled by that company or foundation.
In basic terminology, Bitcoin and other alt coins are crypto currencies. They are not controlled by any one person or organisation unless the coin is specifically centralised. They are similar to shares on the stock market as you can use them to trade on a crypto exchange. You use these coins to make payments from one user to another on the crypto blockchain for that currency. Transactions are usually within minutes depending on network congestion or 'miners' not processing transactions fast enough. Transactions are verified by 'miners' which is basically a computer processing the transaction. However, many, many computers are required to confirm the transaction and 'mine' the blockchain. These 'miners' get rewarded for processing the transactions by receiving coins of that currency they are mining once a block is fully mined. Once the block is in place on the blockchain all those ledger entries(transactions) are fixed and unable to be reversed. Some coins do not require mined blocks or miners. The crypto currency Ethereum can also send smart contracts with a payment/transaction.
Bitcoin is the main crypto currency people buy. The more people that know about Bitcoin the more people will buy it. Currently, just over 1% of the world uses crypto currencies. Bitcoin is a way of transacting currency from one person to another anonymously pretty much instantly. No need to wait for banks to process your transfer and wait 3 days while they hold your money. This is the future. Decentralised money. Bitcoin to me is now used more as a 'store of value', similar to gold.
Bitcoin and other alt currencies have now been affected by what they call 'hard forks'. So far Bitcoin has had many hard forks with many more to come. This means 'miners' or 'programmers' or 'large coin holders' decide that Bitcoin or an alt coin is not working and needs to be changed. The rest of the community behind this coin disagrees and so the rejected party 'hard fork' Bitcoin or an alt coin. This means at a certain block number on the blockchain for this coin the rejected parties who hard fork the coin take a snapshot of the blockchain and then after the fork they provide you with the same amount of the forked coins as what you had in Bitcoins or the alt coin that was just hard forked. Don't worry, they can't steal your coins by doing a snapshot as they need your private keys to withdraw the coins. To claim these free 'hard fork' coins you need to have the forked coin on an exchange that credits you with hard forks, like Binance, or in a secure paper or hardware wallet where you own the keys and then sweep the wallet as shown on YouTube. My advice is to wait to sweep a wallet until you have a batch of forked coins to do. Also, beware of scams, there have been hundreds of scams so far in terms of crypto and/or Bitcoin hard forks. Scams for crypto currencies usually try to steal your private keys.
Litecoin is a coin that can do more transactions faster than Bitcoin and the fees are alot less also. This coin is slowly making it's mark in the crypto world and is now becoming accepted with some retailers across the world along with Bitcoin.
Ethereum is a coin that acts similar to Bitcoin with the ability of transacting funds and fast payments, but it has an added extra. Ethereum allows you to send funds along with a smart contract. The use for this application could be endless. This coin is now the base used for most Ethereum based new crypto currencies and/or DeFi projects that hit the market. They all piggy back so to speak off its technology. This coin is also now has some good business partnerships and more use cases..
Uses an algorithm called CryptoNight which is able to be mined on a 64bit computer. Monero coin is based mainly on privacy and therefore could attract illegal users to the currency. The coin could breakout in price should it get taken up by a black online market or it could crash to zero if it becomes banned by countries.
IOTA is a different type of technology to Bitcoin and Ethereum in that it is the first crypto currency using a next generation blockchain as distributed ledger technology. It uses 'Tangle' a different type of blockchain technology that may even be a real competitor for Bitcoin. Certainly one to watch I believe. Has some major partnerships.
A Bitcoin based currency featuring instant transactions, decentralized governance and budgeting, and private transactions. Dash could be a huge coin and has big potential if teamed up with a large business enterprise. Very popular in countries whose economy is crashing.