Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is digital money that combines the most advanced cryptographic techniques with a revolutionary new platform called a blockchain to allow its users to securely transfer value between each other. The first ever cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was created by a cryptographer under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 and its value has since grown to a total market capitalization of roughly $20 billion at the beginning of 2017. Despite this spectacular rise in value, Bitcoin is far from perfect. Bitcoin transactions take many minutes to confirm, fees for transactions can often reach levels higher than its users are willing to pay, and its decentralized governance model makes it tough for developers to improve the underlying protocol. As a result of these issues, many new and separate cryptocurrencies have been created in effort further improve upon the Bitcoin software. In fact, there are now hundreds of cryptocurrencies that are valued at over $1 million in market capitalization, each with different software governing how they can be used. One particular cryptocurrency, Ethereum, has recently been threatening to take over Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency with the largest market cap, increasing by roughly 5x in value over the first quarter of 2017. Ethereum hopes to offer a turing-complete and programmable blockchain which can be used to create things like smart contracts and has many far reaching applications.