Most people have heard of the term cryptocurrency and know that Bitcoin is one, but most people don’t know what it really is. Cryptocurrency is a decentralized virtual currency that can also be thought of as programmable money. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency cannot be used interchangeably as the former is just one of the many cryptocurrencies out there which happens to be the most popular one, just how we often use the word “TiVo” instead of a digital video recorder or “iPhone” instead of a smartphone.
Governments of many countries have banned the use of cryptocurrencies as there is no central control system which they can use for surveillance. Privacy is one of the top benefits of using cryptocurrencies which disallows its totalitarian control. For instance, Bitcoin holds up the human right of privacy against surveillance and does not use your name or identity, making all transactions anonymous. This raises speculations as to the system will be a safe-haven for drug dealers, criminals and terrorists. Well, you would be surprised to know that the Internet also was speculated in the same fashion back in the day. Similarly, the first cars that were made available to the public were prone to breaking down and were also slower than horse carts, which was the prime mode of transportation. Also, electricity was originally reported to be a dangerous technology, causing fires and hence having no practical value.
We all know how the positive uses of all of these technologies clearly outrun the flaws that they held back in the day. Similarly, once accepted at scale, the real benefits of cryptocurrencies will surface and become an essential part of human life – – like cars, electricity, and the Internet has become. It is being accepted by major corporations like Microsoft, Dell, Dish and soon will be accepted more readily globally.
The graphic below notes the countries that are currently pioneering the movement and those that are outlawing it.