Blockchain 101

Learn the basics of blockchain

Written by Support
Updated over a week ago

What is an NFT?

An NFT is a one-of-a-kind digital asset backed by the blockchain and on the Mint Gold Dust marketplace, it exists mostly in the form of digital artwork.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset existing in cyberspace issued without a centralized authority. It can be sent to anyone else in the world at any time for the cost of a small transaction fee. The value of the cryptocurrency is generally determined by the quality of the network and public opinion. The network is cryptographically secured by thousands of people separately running machines that are rewarded with the aforementioned transaction fees.


A blockchain is the backbone of any cryptocurrency and is essentially just a digital ledger, a record-keeping system of who owns what and who has sent what to whom. This ledger is replicated thousands of times and each person securing the network maintains a copy. This ensures that no fraudulent transactions can occur because if a bad actor attempts to submit a fake, every other actor will flag it as it does not reconcile with their own copy of the blockchain.

Why is a blockchain better?

Blockchains are better because it is impossible to submit a fraudulent transaction to the network, decentralizing the need to financially trust any other person. It is also immutable, meaning once something is written to the blockchain it cannot be undone. Things can be overwritten, but the original information will always be publicly available. This means more transparency and less need for trust. Some blockchains have the ability to run code on top of their financial infrastructure, such as Ethereum. This means they have a digital currency that is native to financial-type transactions and can code financially dependent programs in an unprecedentedly efficient manner. However, blockchains are not better than the current system in that they are extremely slow and expensive. With any nascent technology things start slow (do you remember the first mobile phone?), and these problems are slowly being solved as the network updates over time.

How do I obtain cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency can primarily be bought through an exchange, a website that handles the transaction of fiat to crypto. You can also receive crypto from anybody that already has it and is willing to send it to your wallet.

What is a crypto wallet?

A crypto wallet is where you hold your cryptocurrency, similar to a physical wallet. Wallets are separate from exchanges, although many exchanges have them built-in. The general recommendation is to move your crypto from an exchange to your personal wallet to mitigate the risk of being hacked. This also gives you full control over your crypto as long as you have your seed/keys.

Wallets can be in an exchange (Coinbase, Gemini, etc.), application-based (MetaMask, Portis, Exodus, etc.), or hardware-based (Ledger, Trezor, etc.).

What is a seed?

A seed is 12-24 words that act as your recovery mechanism for gaining access to your wallet. There’s no such thing as “reset my password,” in crypto. A common saying in the space is “Not your keys, not your crypto.” Writing down this seed phrase in two places and storing them somewhere safe is a best practice. Exchanges and common payment applications like Robinhood and PayPal do not give you your seed phrase and therefore no recovery access to your funds.

You can save the seed in a note or Google Doc online, but this makes your wallet “hot.” A “hot” wallet is any wallet connected to the internet. A “cold” wallet is the opposite, generally a hardware-based wallet with a physically written seed.

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