Money is anything that is generally accepted in exchange for goods and services. Money serves four basic functions: it is a medium of exchange, it is a unit of account, it’s a store of value, and finally, it is a standard of deferred payment. Over the past decade, many innovations in payments have emerged: Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, ICOs…… What do these even mean? The natural response to these foreign concepts is usually skepticism and rejection, but beneath the jargon lies a powerful new technology revamping our financial system.
In our following discussion, let’s use “Bitcoin” as an example. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to control its creation and management, rather than relying on central authorities.
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Bitcoin first launched in 2009, and the development of blockchain technology has brought it into the mainstream. It is the blockchain that allows transactions to be verified, bringing more security and transparency to cryptocurrency markets. Over the course of bitcoin’s history, it has undergone rapid growth to become a significant currency both on and offline – from the mid 2010s, some businesses began accepting bitcoin in addition to traditional currencies.
Are Bitcoins a Form of Money?
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ABC News: Bitcoin Value Soars
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Bitcoins: CNN News