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Look out for our three-part podcast series on cryptocurrencies exploring:

In part one, Chris Becker explains the basics of "peer to peer digital currencies" that let people transfer value to each other over the internet, anywhere in the world, without any central gatekeepers or intermediaries involved.


The seemingly "unhackable" network is kept secure by encryption technology called blockchain that provides an open, distributed ledger that verifies transactions and sits on a network of computers, not controlled by any central third party.


The open-source nature of the Bitcoin code means that it is a “permission-less network” which allows other developers to build apps on bitcoin’s payment network, resulting in an explosion of new cryptocurrencies.


In this podcast, Chris talks about the success of cryptocurrencies being reliant on the technology being adopted by the masses, which, as we saw with the Internet and mobile phones, happened relatively quickly to say, the adoption of electricity.

Listen to podcast: Understanding bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Jump to the topics you're most interested in by scrolling to the time codes provided below


00:40: What are cryptocurrencies?

02:10: Blockchain –the technology underlying cryptocurrencies

03:46: Explosion of new cryptocurrencies like Litecoin

04:50: Blockchain is an open “permisionless network” vs current financial system gatekeepers

05:04: How other apps like Litecoin have bolted on to the Bitcoin network

06:18: How to create a wallet on Jaxx – a multiple cryptocurrency wallet app

08:58: What can you do with cryptocurrencies? How long until it becomes a mass adopted technology?

10:17: Regulation of cryptocurrencies in South Africa

11:18: The increasing value of cryptocurrency

11:49: Ethereum – a different type of cryptocurrency

12:23: What is a smart contract? Prism - example of a smart contract-based wealth management platform

13:37: Volatility in price of cryptocurrencies

14:34: Financial institutions’ response to cryptocurrencies

15:45: How does blockchain ensure security of information?

16:50: How you trade Litecoin with other people

17:35: How you convert cryptocurrency to cash

18:27: The growth of Bitcoin exchanges in South Africa

19:07: Blockstream – satellites cover the earth with a signal to carry bitcoin transactions, without having to use internet


About the author

Chris Becker

Chris Becker

Blockchain technologies lead

Chris commercialises decentralised blockchain technologies and digital assets for the benefit of Investec Private Banking clients. In his previous role, he was an economist and strategist conducting research for large corporates, asset managers and hedge funds for a decade before entering blockchain technologies full time in 2017.

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The opinions and views expressed are for information purposes only and are subject to change without notice. They should not be viewed as independent research, recommendations or investment advice of any nature.