Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, What The Heck?

I'll be completely honest here and tell you that Bitcoin (indeed, cryptocurrency in general) makes my head hurt. I understand in a general way how they are created, but when it comes to the actual use of cryptocurrency, I get real fuzzy real quick.

Most of the articles I have read are somewhat helpful, but ultimately a little confusing (for me at least). This one from HowToGeek I found to be more intelligible than most, so hopefully it will help you too; it goes into both the creation of cryptocurrencies and the use of them.
Imagine you’re buying a Coke at the supermarket with a debit card. The transaction has three elements: your card, corresponding to your bank account and your money, the bank itself that verifies the transaction and the transfer of money, and the store that accepts the money from the bank and finalizes the sale. A Bitcoin transaction has, broadly speaking, the same three components.

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