A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual asset that uses cryptography for security. The most well known cryptocurrency thus far is bitcoin, but others include:
- Ethereum Classic
Cryptocurrencies are independent and not issued by any government or central authority, and transactions using cryptocurrencies are anonymous. The underlying technology for cryptocurrencies is the blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology.
Because of the anonymity of crypto transactions, regulators and others are concerned with the potential of cryptocurrencies for use in money laundering or other illicit activity. The prices for digital currencies are set by trading on spot platforms, many of which are based offshore and none of which are registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cryptocurrencies differ from traditional currencies in a number of ways. They are not subject to governance standards, accountability and oversight, or regular reporting of trading and related financial data. Although advocates first spoke of cryptocurrencies as an alternative method of payment to currencies like the dollar and the euro, they later drew interest as an investment asset rather than an efficient means of exchange.
- Regulators Are Looking at Cryptocurrency. The Wall Street Journal.