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Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual form of currency that uses cryptography for security and operates on decentralized networks based on blockchain technology. Unlike traditional currencies issued by governments (fiat currencies), cryptocurrencies are typically not controlled by any central authority, making them immune to government interference or manipulation.

The first and most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, created in 2009.

Since then, thousands of alternative cryptocurrencies with various features and specifications have been developed, including Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and others.

Cryptocurrencies can be used for a wide range of purposes, including online purchases, investment, remittances, and as a means to transfer value across borders. They are hailed for their potential to democratize finance, though they also face challenges such as regulatory scrutiny, price volatility, and concerns over illegal use.