A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work spil a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of extra units, and to verify the transfer of assets.  [Two] [Trio] Cryptocurrencies are classified spil a subset of digital currencies and are also classified spil a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies.
Bitcoin, created te 2009, wasgoed the very first decentralized cryptocurrency. [Four] Since then, numerous cryptocurrencies have bot created. [Five] Thesis are frequently called altcoins, spil a blend of bitcoin alternative.    Bitcoin and its derivatives use decentralized control  spil opposed to centralized electronic money/central banking systems. [Ten] The decentralized control is related to the use of bitcoin’s blockchain transaction database ter the role of a distributed ledger. 
Decentralized cryptocurrency is produced by the entire cryptocurrency system collectively, at a rate which is defined when the system is created and which is publicly known. Te centralized banking and economic systems such spil the Federal Reserve System, corporate boards or governments control the supply of currency by printing units of fiat money or requiring additions to digital banking ledgers. Te case of decentralized cryptocurrency, companies or governments cannot produce fresh units, and have not so far provided backing for other firms, banks or corporate entities which hold asset value measured te it. The underlying technical system upon which decentralized cryptocurrencies are based wasgoed created by the group or individual known spil Satoshi Nakamoto. 
Spil of September 2017 [update] , overheen a thousand cryptocurrency specifications exist, most are similar to and derived from the very first fully implemented decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Within cryptocurrency systems the safety, integrity and balance of ledgers is maintained by a community of mutually distrustful parties referred to spil miners: members of the general public using their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions, adding them to the ledger te accordance with a particular timestamping scheme.  Miners have a financial incentive to maintain the security of a cryptocurrency ledger.
Most cryptocurrencies are designed to little by little decrease production of currency, placing an ultimate cap on the total amount of currency that will everzwijn be ter circulation, mimicking precious metals.   Compared with ordinary currencies held by financial institutions or kept spil specie on palm, cryptocurrencies can be more difficult for seizure by law enforcement.  This difficulty is derived from leveraging cryptographic technologies. A primary example of this fresh challenge for law enforcement comes from the Silk Road case, where Ulbricht’s bitcoin stash “wasgoed held separately and . encrypted.”  Cryptocurrencies such spil bitcoin are pseudonymous, however additions such spil Zerocoin have bot suggested, which would permit for true anonymity.   [Legal]
Ter 1998, Weide Dai published a description of “b-money”, an anonymous, distributed electronic metselspecie system. [Nineteen] Shortly thereafter, Nick Szabo created “bit gold”.  Like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that would go after it, bit gold (not to be confused with the zometeen gold-based exchange, BitGold) wasgoed an electronic currency system which required users to accomplish a proof of work function with solutions being cryptographically waterput together and published. A currency system based on a reusable proof of work wasgoed zometeen created by Ontvangstruimte Finney who followed the work of Dai and Szabo.
The very first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, wasgoed created ter 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, spil its proof-of-work scheme.   Te April 2011, Namecoin wasgoed created spil an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, ter October 2011, Litecoin wasgoed released. It wasgoed the very first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt spil its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin wasgoed the very first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid.  IOTA wasgoed the very first cryptocurrency not based on a blockchain, and instead uses the Tangle.   Many other cryptocurrencies have bot created however few have bot successful, spil they have brought little te the way of technical innovation.  On 6 August 2014, the UK announced its Treasury had bot commissioned to do a probe of cryptocurrencies, and what role, if any, they can play ter the UK economy. The probe wasgoed also to report on whether regulation should be considered. 
Gareth Murphy, a senior central banking officer has stated “widespread use [of cryptocurrency] would also make it more difficult for statistical agencies to gather gegevens on economic activity, which are used by governments to steer the economy”. He cautioned that virtual currencies pose a fresh challenge to central banks’ control overheen the significant functions of monetary and exchange rate policy. 
Jordan Kelley, founder of Robocoin, launched the very first bitcoin ATM te the United States on February 20, 2014. The kiosk installed te Austin, Texas is similar to canap ATMs but has scanners to read government-issued identification such spil a driver’s license or a passport to confirm users’ identities.  By September 2017 1574 bitcoin ATMs were installed around the world with an average toverfee of 9.05%. An average of Three bitcoin ATMs were being installed vanaf day te September 2017. 
The Dogecoin Foundation, a charitable organization centered around Dogecoin and co-founded by Dogecoin co-creator Jackson Palmer, donated more than $30,000 worth of Dogecoin to help fund the Jamaican bobsled team’s tour to the 2014 Olympic games te Sochi, Russia.  The growing community around Dogecoin is looking to cementlaag its charitable credentials by raising funds to sponsor service dogs for children with special needs. 
The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or switching te many of them. While some countries have explicitly permitted their use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. Likewise, various government agencies, departments, and courts have classified bitcoins differently. China Central Handelsbank banned the treating of bitcoins by financial institutions te China during an utterly quick adoption period ter early 2014.  Ter Russia, tho’ cryptocurrencies are legal, it is illegal to actually purchase goods with any currency other than the Russian ruble. 
On March 25, 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that bitcoin will be treated spil property for tax purposes spil opposed to currency. This means bitcoin will be subject to capital gains tax. One benefit of this ruling is that it clarifies the legality of bitcoin. No longer do investors need to worry that investments te or profit made from bitcoins are illegal or how to report them to the IRS.  Te a paper published by researchers from Oxford and Warwick, it wasgoed shown that bitcoin has some characteristics more like the precious metals market than traditional currencies, hence te agreement with the IRS decision even if based on different reasons. 
Te response to the IRS ruling, numerous organizations have bot created to advocate for consumers. One of the most vooraanstaand examples is the Washington, D.C. based Cryptocurrency Alliance, an independent expenditure-only committee (Super PAC), created to raise awareness about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. 
Legal issues not dealing with governments have also arisen for cryptocurrencies. Coinye, for example, is an altcoin that used rapper Kanye Westelijk spil its logo without permission. Upon hearing of the release of Coinye, originally called Coinye Westelijk, attorneys for Kanye Westelijk sent a cease and desist letterteken to the email technicus of Coinye, David P. McEnery Jr. The letterteken stated that Coinye wasgoed deliberate trademark infringement, unfair competition, cyberpiracy, and dilution and instructed Coinye to zekering using the likeness and name of Kanye Westelijk. 
The legal concern of an unregulated global economy Edit
Spil the popularity of and request for online currencies has enhanced since the inception of bitcoin ter 2009,   so have concerns that such an unregulated person to person global economy that cryptocurrencies suggest may become a threat to society. Concerns abound that altcoins may become contraptions for anonymous web criminals. 
Cryptocurrency networks display a marked lack of regulation that attracts many users who seek decentralized exchange and use of currency, however the very same lack of regulations has bot critiqued spil potentially enabling criminals who seek to evade taxes and launder money.
Transactions that occur through the use and exchange of thesis altcoins are independent from formal banking systems, and therefore can make tax evasion simpler for individuals. Since charting taxable income is based upon what a recipient reports to the revenue service, it becomes utterly difficult to account for transactions made using existing cryptocurrencies, a mode of exchange that is elaborate and (ter some cases) unlikely to track. 
Systems of anonymity that most cryptocurrencies suggest can also serve spil a simpler means to launder money. Rather than laundering money through an intricate televisiekanaal of financial actors and offshore handelsbank accounts, laundering money through altcoins can be achieved through anonymous transactions. 
On August 6, 2013, Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas federal court ruled that because cryptocurrency (expressly bitcoin) can be used spil money (it can be used to purchase goods and services, pay for individual living expenses, and exchanged for conventional currencies), it is a currency or form of money. This ruling permitted for the SEC to have jurisdiction overheen cases of securities fraud involving cryptocurrency. 
GBL, a Chinese bitcoin trading podium, all of a sudden shut down on October 26, 2013. Subscribers, incapable to loom ter, lost up to $Five million worth of bitcoin.  
Te February 2014, cryptocurrency made national headlines due to the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, announcing bankruptcy. The company stated that it had lost almost $473 million of their customer’s bitcoins likely due to theft. This wasgoed omschrijving to approximately 750,000 bitcoins, or about 7% of all the bitcoins ter existence. Due to this depressie, among other news, the price of a bitcoin fell from a high of about $1,160 te December to under $400 te February. 
On March 31, 2015, two now-former agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Secret Service were charged with wire fraud, money laundering and other offenses for allegedly stealing bitcoin during the federal investigation of Silk Road, an underground illicit black market federal prosecutors shut down ter 2013. 
On December 1, 2015, the proprietor of the now-defunct GAW Miners webstek wasgoed accused of securities fraud following his development of the cryptocurrency known spil Paycoin. He is accused of masterminding an elaborate ponzi scheme under the guise of “cloud mining” with mining equipment hosted ter a gegevens center. He purported the cloud miners known spil “hashlets” to be mining cryptocurrency within the Zenportal “cloud” when ter fact there were no miners actively mining cryptocurrency. Zenportal had overheen Ten,000 users that had purchased hashlets for a total of overheen Nineteen million U.S. dollars.  
On August 24, 2016, a federal judge te Florida certified a class act lawsuit  against defunct cryptocurrency exchange Cryptsy and Cryptsy’s possessor. He is accused of misappropriating millions of dollars of user deposits, ruining evidence, and is believed to have fled to China. 
On November 21, 2017, an online company (Tether) which backs bitcoin cryptocurrency with fiat currency claims they were hacked, losing $31 million ter USTD from their primary wallet.  The company has ‘tagged’ the stolen currency, hoping to ‘lock’ them te the hacker’s wallet (making them unspendable). Tether indicates that it is building a fresh core for its primary wallet ter response to the attack te order to prevent the stolen coins from being used.
On December 6, 2017, more than $60 million worth of bitcoin wasgoed stolen after a cyber attack succesnummer the cryptocurrency mining toneel NiceHash (Slovenia-based company). According to the CEO Marko Kobal and co-founder Sasa Coh, bitcoin worth $64 million USD wasgoed stolen, albeit users have pointed to a bitcoin wallet which holds Four,736.42 bitcoins, omschrijving to $67 million.  
Darknet markets Edit
Cryptocurrency is also used ter controversial settings te the form of online black markets, such spil Silk Road. The original Silk Road wasgoed shut down te October 2013 and there have bot two more versions te use since then, the current version being Silk Road Trio.0. The successful format of Silk Road has bot widely used ter online dark markets, which has led to a subsequent decentralization of the online dark market. Ter the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of vooraanstaand dark markets enlargened from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings enhanced from Legitimate,000 to 32,000. 
Darknet markets present growing challenges te regard to legality. Bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency used te dark markets are not clearly or legally classified te almost all parts of the world. Te the U.S., bitcoins are labelled spil “virtual assets”. This type of ambiguous classification puts mounting pressure on law enforcement agencies around the world to adapt to the shifting drug trade of dark markets. 
Since most darknet markets run through Tor, they can be found with relative ease on public domains. This means that their addresses can be found, spil well spil customer reviews and open forums pertaining to the drugs being sold on the market, all without incriminating any form of user.  This kleuter of anonymity enables users on both sides of dark markets to escape the reaches of law enforcement. The result is that law enforcement adheres to a campaign of singling out individual markets and drug dealers to cut down supply. However, dealers and suppliers are able to stay one step ahead of law enforcement, who cannot keep up with the rapidly expanding and anonymous marketplaces of dark markets. 
Fundings – ICOs Edit
An initial coin suggesting (ICO) is an unregulated means by which funds are raised for a fresh cryptocurrency venture. An ICO is used by startups to bypass rigorous and regulated capital-raising processes required by venture capitalists or banks. Ter an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project ter exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, often Bitcoin or Ethereum. 
Cryptocurrencies use various timestamping schemes to avoid the need for a trusted third party to timestamp transactions added to the blockchain ledger.
Proof-of-work schemes Edit
The very first timestamping scheme invented wasgoed the proof-of-work scheme. The most widely used proof-of-work schemes are based on SHA-256, which wasgoed introduced by bitcoin, and scrypt, which is used by currencies such spil Litecoin.  The latter now predominates overheen the world of cryptocurrencies, with at least 480 confirmed implementations. 
Some other hashing algorithms that are used for proof-of-work include CryptoNight, Blake, SHA-3, and X11.
Modifications of the proof-of-work algorithm have bot created to address the problem of scaling, such spil the way the IOTA ledger works. IOTA uses a simplified Proof-of-work algorithm making use of directed acyclic graph.  A fresh transaction becomes part of the ledger after its sender does a puny amount of proof-of-work. Each network participant is therefore also a miner, however without any economic incentive other than enabling their own transactions.   This system scales automatically spil it gets used more. 
Proof-of-stake and combined schemes Edit
Some cryptocurrencies use a combined proof-of-work/proof-of-stake scheme.   The proof-of-stake is a method of securing a cryptocurrency network and achieving distributed overeenstemming through requesting users to display ownership of a certain amount of currency. It is different from proof-of-work systems that run difficult hashing algorithms to validate electronic transactions. The scheme is largely dependent on the coin, and there’s presently no standard form of it.
Cryptocurrencies are used primarily outside existing banking and governmental institutions, and exchanged overheen the Internet. While thesis alternative, decentralized modes of exchange are ter the early stages of development, they have the unique potential to challenge existing systems of currency and payments. Spil of June 2017 [update] total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies is fatter than 100 billion USD and record high daily volume is larger than 6 billion USD. 
Competition ter cryptocurrency markets Edit
Spil of September 2017 [update] , there were overheen 1100  [ better source needed ] digital currencies te existence.
Te order to go after the development of the market of cryptocurrencies, indices keep track of notable cryptocurrencies and their cumulative market value.
Crypto index CRIX Edit
The cryptocurrency index CRIX is a conceptual measurement jointly developed by statisticians at Humboldt University of Berlin, Singapore Management University and the enterprise CoinGecko and wasgoed launched ter 2016.  The index represents cryptocurrency market characteristics dating back until July 31, 2014.   Its algorithm takes into account that the cryptocurrency market is frequently switching, with the continuous creation of fresh cryptocurrencies and infrequent trading of some of the existing ones.   Therefore, the number of index members is adjusted quarterly according to their relevance on the cryptocurrency market spil a entire.  It is the very first dynamic index reflecting switches on the cryptocurrency market. [ citation needed ]
CCI30 Crypto Currencies Index Edit
The CCI30 index is composed of the 30 crypto currencies with the largest market capitalization. It wasgoed created by a team of mathematicians, quantitative analysts and traders, led by Professor Igor Rivin and Carlo Scevola, economist. The components of the index are set at a immobilized number of 30, weighted based on the square root of their smoothed market capitalization. The composition of the index is revised on a quarterly ondergrond, using an exponentially weighted moving average of the market capitalization. The CCI30 starts ter January 2015 with a value of 100. This index is loosely available to the public,  and can be replicated by funds that go after a passive investment strategy.
Ter September 2015, the establishment of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ledger (ISSN 2379-5980) wasgoed announced. It will voorkant studies of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, and is published by the University of Pittsburgh.  [Sixty-nine] The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a verkeersopstopping hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a private bitcoin address te the very first pagina of their papers.  
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