(Ed: before cryptocurrency showed up, the abbreviation ‘crypto’ usually referred to cryptography. Now it’s almost always used to refer to cryptocurrency.)
Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and operates independently of a central bank. Cryptocurrencies use a decentralized network of computers to maintain and verify transactions, which are recorded on a public ledger called a blockchain.
Unlike traditional currencies, which are backed by governments or other centralized authorities, cryptocurrencies are not issued or regulated by any single entity. Instead, they rely on complex mathematical algorithms and protocols to create new units and verify transactions.
The most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created in 2009. Since then, thousands of other cryptocurrencies have been developed, each with its own unique features and use cases.
Cryptocurrencies are often used for online purchases, investments, and as a store of value. They have gained popularity due to their ability to operate independently of government or financial institutions, and their potential for anonymity and privacy. However, cryptocurrencies are also subject to volatility and regulatory uncertainty, which can make them a risky investment.
(Ed: written by ChatGPT; verified by jrivett.)