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What is a "Cryptocurrency"

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature. A defining feature of a cryptocurrency, and arguably its most endearing allure, is its organic nature; it is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation

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BREAKING DOWN 'Cryptocurrency'
The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes them well-suited for a host of nefarious activities, such as money laundering and tax evasion.
'Cryptocurrency' Benefits
Cryptocurrencies make it easier to transfer funds between two parties in a transaction; these transfers are facilitated through the use of public and private keys.
'Cryptocurrency' Drawbacks
However, because cryptocurrencies are virtual and do not have a central repository, a digital cryptocurrency balance can be wiped out by a computer crash if a backup copy of the holdings does not exist.
'Cryptocurrency' History
The first decentralized cryptocurrency was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS.