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Definition: cryptocurrency


(CRYPTOgraphic CURRENCY) A digital currency that resides in a decentralized public ledger known as the "blockchain." Cryptocurrencies are not maintained or governed by any bank, financial institution or nation. They are a global entity, and in 2009, Bitcoin was the first. Since then, well more than a thousand others have been introduced with names such as Litecoin, Namecoin, Peercoin, Mastercoin, BlackCoin and Dodgecoin. However, some digital currencies are nothing more than scams that take advantage of the latest craze. As of 2018, after the U.S. and Japan, South Korea does the most Bitcoin trading. See Bitcoin and blockchain.

What's Cryptic About It?
The transaction of sending money from one party to another is encrypted via public key cryptography. Thus, the identity of the sender is kept secret much like paying for merchandise with cash in the physical world. See public key cryptography.

Based on Demand
Except for Sharia-conforming OneGram, which is backed by physical gold, the value of a coin of cryptocurrency is based on the market like a share of stock, and its value fluctuates wildly. For example, once worth a few cents, a single Bitcoin has jumped to thousands of dollars. Cryptocurrency traders hope to make fortunes with this phenomenon, which has gathered immense steam in the 2010s.




Real-Time Crypto Updates
For the latest cryptocurrency updates, go to www.cryptocompare.com. The green Bitcoin and Ethereum Classic prices show the last quote was an uptick. As of this example (August 2018), there were nearly 2,000 coins in the list.