Cryptocurrency for Beginners PDF: Your Ultimate Guide

Published: 3rd June, 2024 | Last Updated: 4th June, 2024

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

This comprehensive Cryptocurrency for Beginners PDF guide walks you through how crypto works in the simplest language possible. You will learn how blockchain technology works, what proof of work is and proof of stake is and how the two larges coins in crypto work. 

course hero image

Download the crypto for Beginners PDF here

If you are completely clueless then are two main coins you need to get your head around. 

1. Bitcoin

The first is Bitcoin. This is the largest coin by market cap. In the crypto world we like to look at market cap which is the price of a coin multiplied by its supply because it makes it easy to compare coins. It tells us how much money people have invested in total. 

The market cap of of Bitcoin at the time of writing is 1.3 trillions. For comparison the market cap of Apply if $2.9Bn  and that of Google is around 2Bn. 

What is special about Bitcoin is that it uses a ledger technology that ensures there can only ever be 21 Million bitcoin. This is unlike anything else we have in the world. The closest thing we have is gold which is very limited in supply. The gold supply grows at about 2% per year and as we discover more it becomes harder and harder to find. 

But what if Elon Musk were to start mining gold in space? Or what if we found massive reserves of gold suddenly. This would surely cause the price of gold to drop. You see what’s special about gold is that it is limited in supply. This is why gold is valuable and seashells are not. At some point those people trading seashells moved to the next beach where they found more. Then they moved to the next one and found more. And suddenly seashells were not lonver a money. 

Apart from being limited in supply Bitcoin has some other desirable qualities of money: 

Bitcoin properties

  • It’s fungible: you can exchange one for the other just like how you can exchnage one bar of gold for another and you would be indifferent. In contrast a diamond or Mona Lisa painting are not fungible even through they hold value. 
  • Its divisible into smaller parts which is a big reason why gold became a medium of transaction
  • Its easy to move. In some cultures there are forms of money that are not easy to move. But this is a key reason they never caught on elsewhere. Bitcoin is extremely easy to send from one person to another.

Those are just a few reasons that Bitcoin is considered a good store of value. 

The other aspect is that Bitcoin is decentrlaized. When Bob sends $100 to Alice the bank deducts $100 from Bob’s account and credits Alice’s account with $100. The bank acts as a central referee that everyone trusts. With bitcoin there is not intermediary. There is no authority that can intermediate to say who owns what. And there is no central bank or governments that can change the rules and print more Bitcoin. 

So that’s bitcoin. In the Cryptocurrency for Beginners PDF I go into more details how it all works. It took me two months to write that explanation and I believe it is the simplest one out there. 

2. Ethereum

The second blockchain you need to know about is Ethereum. What’s special about Ethereum is that it offers something called smart contracts. A smart contract allows developers to write “if…then…” logic into the blockchain. This means that anyone can built an application on top of the Ethereum blockchain. For example you could build a banking application. Imagine you send this bank 100 ETH and it lends your 50 as a loan. The bank doesn’t need to worry about repayment because it has enough collateral. It can have rules in place to sell your collateral if you don’t repay your loan or if the value of collateral drops below a certain level. 

How Ethereum automates applications

Similarly a lender can deposit 50 ETH on the platform to lend it out in return for interest on their loan. So now you have a fully automated bank that does not require staff or offices to be managed. It’s just code that is openly available for anyone to check and use. 

Ethereum competitors

There are thousands of decentralized apps that have been built on Ethereum and it competitors such as Polkadot, Cardano, Solana and so on. 

The other thing that is special with blockchains such as Ethereum is that you can issue your own token. You can issue a token and call it JokeCoin. It can have a specific function within an app or it can pure nonsense like memecoins are. 

Ethereum is covered extensively in the second section of the crypto pdf for beginners. 

I hope you find the PDF helpful. If you want to really get to grips with crypto check out my crash course on crypto where I condense years of learning into a few hours. Alternatively you can check out my crypto 101 page and the crypto basics page for more beginner resources. 

Have fun learning and see you on the other side.

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

Learn About a New
Coin Every Week

Learn About a New
Coin Every Week

Master Crypto Basics

Join over 7,300 subscribers. It’s free.

elementalcrypto newsletter benefits