The cryptocurrency that started it all is still the most popular, despite its problems. At around $41 billion, it has the biggest market cap. It’s been on the market for eight years, it’s widely used around the world, and no one found an easily exploitable weakness in the way it works yet.
Bitcoin is both a store of value and a payment system, letting users easily send and receive bitcoins (also known as BTCs; digital tokens that are essentially Bitcoin’s currency). It also has a somewhat sexy history, due to the unknown identity of its maker, a person or group of people called Satoshi Nakamoto, which disappeared about two years after launching the project in early 2009.
Bitcoin is based on an invention called the blockchain, which is also the basis of the vast majority of cryptocurrencies out there. Understanding the concept is not trivial, but is necessary in order to get a sense of what all these other cryptos are about.