Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that operate as a peer-to-peer medium of exchange through a computer network—usually the blockchain. These are cryptographically secured and do not rely on a central authority for management. Although cryptocurrencies such as eCash were already available, it was the launch of Bitcoin that brought this industry to the mainstream.
In addition to a medium of exchange, cryptocurrencies have been considered as an investment vehicle, with new developments such as stablecoins helping reduce the volatility risk associated with the digital asset. Exchanges help users swap their coins for other digital currencies or even fiat and enable access to other cryptocurrency-linked financial products. The increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies has also led many businesses to accept this as a payment method, with many startups emerging to build the infrastructure required to support this. Many central banks are also testing the waters with digital alternatives to their own fiat currencies (Central Bank Digital Currencies [CBDCs]) in partnership with solution vendors.
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