By THALIA BEATY
NEW YORK (AP) — The first and most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin, launched more than a decade ago. Yet for all the relentless buzz around cryptocurrencies, relatively few are well versed in them. A 2021 poll by Pew Research Center found that just 16% of Americans said they have ever invested in cryptocurrencies. Those not in that group may wonder if it’s worth understanding the lingo or the technology. As cryptocurrencies and related technologies reach into politics, intertwine with the larger economy and impact the environment, everyone could use a sense of what they are, how they work and their pitfalls and potential.