What’s the difference between blockchain and cryptocurrency?
Part of the confusion around what is blockchain versus what is cryptocurrency is due in part that the terms have come into use. Instead of being introduced by formal definition, the term blockchain developed from “chain of blocks”. Cryptocurrency is a sort-of portmanteau of “cryptographic currency”. But the fundamental difference between these concepts has to do with how distributed ledger technology is used.
Blockchain as a technology
When Bitcoin was the only blockchain, there wasn’t much of a distinction between the terms and they were used interchangeably. As the technology matured and a variety of blockchains bloomed, the uses quickly diverged from the pure money aspect. Instead, technologists experimented with ideas like decentralized name registry. Other uses utilized the peer-to-peer aspect to deliver messages in a discrete way. In the end, many of these projects failed to find a good use of the technology. The projects left standing helped demonstrate what was possible with beyond buzzwords.
Cryptocurrency as an asset class
Contrasted with blockchain, cryptocurrency has to do with the use of tokens based on the distributed ledger technology. Anything dealing with buying, selling, investing, trading, microtipping, or other monetary aspects deals with a blockchain native token or subtoken.
Well, yes and no. In recent years, corporations and enterprises have been experimenting with blockchain technology, but the token as a valued asset presents a problem for most organizations and consortiums using it. If they don’t like the cryptocurrency aspect, than what do corporations get out of blockchain? For any institution, the anti-fragile distributed nature is beneficial, along with promises for a more hack-proof environment. Regulators will enjoy the auditability that cryptographic receipts provide–named “triple entry accounting”. That’s great and all, but one of the main benefits of blockchain is as a trust protocol to coordinate possibly untrusting entities. So how can they achieve this without the mining/validation process?