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Stocks, also known as equities, are shares of ownership that entitle the holder to a part of a company's assets and earnings. The stock market is where these shares are bought and sold. There are 60 major stock exchanges around the world and 16 of them each have a market capitalization of over $1 trillion. Both large players like banks or hedge funds and small investors participate in this market. The stock market operates on a system of supply and demand and has opportunities for long term investors and for day traders.
The US stock market contains well-known exchanges such as the NASDAQ Stock Market and the New York Stock Exchange. They have a reputation for trading strong, high-quality securities and feature some of the world's most actively traded companies such as Apple, Amazon, Bank of America, General Electric, ExxonMobil and Johnson & Johnson.
Currencies are traded on the Foreign Exchange market, also known as Forex. This is a decentralized market that spans the globe and is considered the largest by trading volume and the most liquid worldwide. Exchange rates fluctuate continuously due to the ever changing market forces of supply and demand. Forex traders buy a currency pair if they think the exchange rate will rise and sell it if they think the opposite will happen. The Forex market remains open around the world for 24 hours a day with the exception of weekends.
Before the Internet revolution only large players such as international banks, hedge funds and extremely wealthy individuals could participate. Now retail traders can buy, sell and speculate on currencies from the comfort of their homes with a mouse click through online brokerage accounts
A cryptocurrency is a fully decentralized, secure, digital currency whose creation is controlled by cryptography. Cryptocurrencies are not issued by central banks and their value does not depend on bank policies. Unlike regular currencies where new money can be introduced in the money supply through Quantitative Easing (QE), cryptocurrency prices are purely based on supply and demand. Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first cryptocurrency. There currently are over 800 alternative cryptocurrencies, called Altcoins, such as Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin.
Bitcoin and popular altcoins can be found on Ki Markets, through real-time cryptocurrency exchanges. Cryptocurrencies are somewhat similar to precious metals, in that their creation is controlled and most have a cap on the amount of units, just like precious metals, which have limited minable amounts.