DIGITAL CURRENCIES ARE CHANGING THE WORLD OF FINANCE!
Cryptocurrency has become a global phenomenon in recent years.
Like any currency, cryptocurrencies can be used to buy goods and services. But unlike other currencies, a cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange. It uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers that manages and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.
In early 2009, an anonymous programmer or a group of programmers under an alias Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin. Satoshi described it as a ‘peer-to-peer electronic cash system.’ It is completely decentralized, meaning there are no servers involved and no central controlling authority. There are no physical bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger that everyone has transparent access to, that – along with all Bitcoin transactions – is verified by a massive amount of computing power. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity.
A blockchain is a shared digital register of recorded data. For cryptocurrencies, this is the transaction history for every unit of the cryptocurrency, which shows how ownership has changed over time. Blockchain works by recording transactions in ‘blocks’, with new blocks added at the front of the chain. Blockchain technology has unique security features that normal computer files do not have.
Blocks are linked together by cryptography – complex mathematics and computer science. Any attempt to alter data disrupts the cryptographic links between blocks, and can quickly be identified as fraudulent by computers in the network.
Cryptocurrency mining is the process by which recent cryptocurrency transactions are checked and new blocks are added to the blockchain.
It’s not just bitcoin anymore.
More than 2,200 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
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