Cryptocurrencies are decentralized virtual currencies. The best known are without a doubt Bitcoin and Ethereum. Using blockchain, a decentralized database technology, cryptocurrencies enable their owners to transact with each other, without intermediaries. The word cryptocurrency comes from the fact that blockchain technology is cryptography, thanks to which no individual can compromise this type of database.
Cryptocurrencies have several advantages, including reduced transaction costs for intermediaries such as banks, as well as independence from central bank policies and, therefore, monetary policies. They also come with some drawbacks that should not be overlooked: they are prohibited in certain countries and can often be very volatile, in particular because of the speculation around them.
Synonymes: cryptographic currency, crypto-money
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