By TJEF Editor Kriti Kanchan Sinha
Citizens of Venezuela, both the rich and the poor alike, are increasingly turning to the world of cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoins, to salvage the value of their savings with the Bolivar, their national currency, becoming worthless as a result of massive currency inflation. Similar is the case with Zimbabwe where citizens are exchanging money in form of bitcoins as trust in their own institutions fall and hyperinflation has wiped out the Zimbabwean dollar completely. Reading these, you would probably not be wrong in feeling that cryptocurrency seems to be the go-to currency for countries in political or economic distress.
An Introduction to Cryptocurrency
So, what exactly is a cryptocurrency? Investopedia defines it as a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. This feature of cryptography makes it extremely difficult to counterfeit as it is pure mathematics and logic and the human factor is negligible. The most important aspect of cryptocurrency that makes it so alluring to many is the fact it is independent of central banks and governments. Cryptocurrency in itself has no intrinsic value which is why it has been denounced by some including Axel Weber, Chairman of the Swiss bank UBS AG, as nothing but a speculative bubble. Further, its supply is not determined by any central bank and is limited in quantity – it is one of the reasons for the price volatility of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is the most famous of all but there are multiple others including Ethereum, Litecoin, Tron etc. The below figure provides us with the list of top five cryptocurrencies in terms of their market capitalization.
In this article, let us take a look at the usage of cryptocurrency and its legality in different countries around the world.