A cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency that uses cryptography and algorithms to increase security, making it more difficult to counterfeit than a physical form of money. Many cryptocurrencies use the blockchain technology to improve even more security and decentralization. Also, these structures allow cryptocurrencies to exist without a central intermediary, like a government or a central bank.
Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that registers transactions or other information. To know more about it, check out this article from our CTO, Marco Failache: https://medium.com/@medusaprotocol/blockchain-technology-4c4c43e4cc73
The utilities from a cryptocurrency begin with the capacity for faster and cheaper transactions, alongside the fact that it can be used without frontiers throughout the world. For example, fiat money to be transacted from one country to another has to pass from different intermediaries incurring a lot of fees.
From these major capacities, more utilities and use cases arise. Medium of exchange is the starting point, but we also have cryptocurrencies aiming to be used on smart contracts, the gaming industry, more private transactions, sports (fan token), security representation and other forms of representation (like a stablecoin of US Dollar). So, imagination is the limit for cryptocurrency utilities.
Exemplifying networks (and the respective cryptocurrency in parentheses) by uses (or what they aim):
• Medium of exchange: Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC);
• Smart contract: Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA) and Solana (SOL);
• Gaming: Gala (GALA), Sandbox (SAND) and Decentraland (MANA);
• Fan token: Paris Saint-Germain Fan Token (PSG);
• Security representation: Paxos Gold (PAXG);
• Stablecoin: USD Coin (USD);
• Private medium of exchange: Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC).
They have more case uses, but, for educational purposes, the point is made.
Cryptocurrencies are not just an eccentricity or something transitory, it is an improvement of financial and economic instruments through technology. They will help bring more financial instruments, liquidity, transaction speed, transparency, efficiency, productivity and less necessity for third parties. Also, improving the capacity for companies to raise money and to give more services or products to their customers.