Cryptocurrencies are digital and virtual currency that is backed by a cryptographic system. They allow secure online transactions without the need for third-party intermediaries.
The cryptocurrency may be mined or bought from cryptocurrency exchanges. Some e-commerce websites do not accept transactions using cryptocurrency. Actually, some cryptocurrencies, including popular ones such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are rarely employed in transactional transactions in retail. However, the exponential growth of cryptocurrency has led to their popularity as instruments for trading. In a small amount, they can also be utilized for transfers across borders.
One of the main reasons for the popularity and utility that is the main reason people are attracted to and use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is the blockchain technology. As its name suggests blockchain is in essence the term used to describe a collection of blocks also known as an electronic ledger. Each block has a list of transactions that have been independently verified by every participant in the network. Each block that is created has to be checked by every node before it is confirmed, which makes it virtually impossible to falsify transaction histories.1 The content of the ledger on the internet must be ratified by all members of the network, not just each node or a computer keeping the ledger in a backup.
Experts suggest blockchain technology is able to serve various industries, including supply chain processes, as well as processes like online voting and crowdfunding. Financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase & Co. are testing the application of blockchain technology in order to cut the cost of transactions by simplifying payment processing.2
Different types of cryptocurrency
Bitcoin is one of the most sought-after and significant cryptocurrencies. A person who was not named Satoshi Nakamoto created it and presented it to the world in a white paper published in 2008. There is a myriad of cryptocurrencies available on the market today.
Each cryptocurrency asserts to perform a distinct purpose and specifications. For instance, Ethereum’s ether is used to sell gas for the base smart contract platform. The Ripple XRP is utilized by banks to facilitate transfers across different countries.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was made accessible to the general public in 2009 and is still the most traded and protected cryptocurrency. As of May 20, 2022, there were 19 million bitcoins on the market with a market value of $576 billion. There are only 21 million bitcoins that will ever exist.3
Following Bitcoin’s popularity, a variety of cryptocurrencies also called “altcoins,” have been introduced. A few of them are replicas and variants of Bitcoin and others are new currencies created from scratch. These comprise Solana, Litecoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and EOS. As of November 20, 2021, the worth of all the cryptocurrencies on the market had risen to more than $2.1 trillion. Bitcoin accounted for approximately 41% of that value.4
Are Cryptocurrencies Legal?
Fiat currency is granted authority as a medium of a transaction by the monetary authorities or government officials. For instance, every dollar bill is secured by Federal Reserve. Federal Reserve.
However, cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by any private or public organizations. This makes it difficult to establish a case for their legality in various financial jurisdictions around the world. This is not helped by the fact that cryptocurrencies operate without the current financial infrastructure. The legality of cryptocurrencies can have implications for their use for daily transactions and trade. In June of 2019, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) suggested that wire transfer of cryptocurrency should be subject to conditions under its Travel Rule which is a requirement for AML compliance.5
As of December 20, 2021, El Salvador was the only nation worldwide that allowed Bitcoin as a legal tender for transactions in monetary value. In other countries, cryptocurrency regulation varies according to jurisdiction.
Japan’s Payment Services Act defines Bitcoin as legal property.6 Exchanges that operate within the country are required to collect information on the buyer and the details related to wire transfers. China has prohibited the exchange of cryptocurrency as well as mining inside its border. India was said to be forming the framework for cryptocurrency in December.7
A cryptographic system is legal
The cryptographic system is legal within the European Union. The derivatives and other items which use cryptocurrency will have to be categorized in the EU as “financial instruments.” In June 2021 the European Commission released the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation which provides safeguards for regulation and sets rules for businesses or providers of financial services that utilize cryptocurrencies.8 In the United States, the biggest and most sophisticated financial market around the globe Crypto derivatives like Bitcoin futures are traded through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stated the following: Bitcoin and Ethereum are not securities.
While Cryptographic systems are regarded as an instrument of exchange, however, it is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers them to be an asset of the financial sector or property. As with others, should you earn capital gains from trading or selling cryptocurrency and the government is interested in an encumbrance of the profits? On the 20th of May 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a proposal that would require taxpayers to report all cryptocurrency transactions that exceed 10,000 to IRS.9 What exactly the IRS would treat the profits — as capital gains or regular income, depends on the amount of time the taxpayer owned the cryptocurrency.10
Certain benefits and drawbacks of cryptocurrency are as the following.
- cryptographic systems represent a new, decentralized paradigm for money. In this model, central intermediaries, like banks and monetary institutions are not required to establish trust and regulate transactions between two people. Therefore, a system that uses cryptocurrency eliminates the risk of a single source of failure, like the failure of a major bank, setting the stage for a series of worldwide crises like the one caused in 2008 due to the collapse of a number of banks in the United States.
- Cryptographic Systems are designed to ease the process of transferring funds between two parties without the need of an untrustworthy third party such as banks or credit card businesses. Decentralized transfers are secured through the use of private and public keys, as well as various forms of incentive mechanisms, including proof of work or evidence of stake.11
- Because they don’t rely on third-party intermediaries, crypto transactions between two parties involved in transactions are more efficient than the traditional transfers of funds. Flash loans that are part of Decentralized Finance are a great illustration of these decentralized transfers. These loans are processed with no collateral backing them, can be completed in just a few seconds, and are utilized for trading.12
- The investment in cryptocurrency can bring you profit. The cryptocurrency market has seen a dramatic increase in value over the last decade, with one time nearly $2 trillion. As of May 20, 2022 Bitcoin was worth over $550 billion in cryptocurrency markets.13
- The transfer economy is undergoing a test of one of the most well-known cryptocurrencies uses. Today, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are used as intermediary currencies to make it easier to transfer money across boundaries. So the fiat currency is transformed into Bitcoin (or an alternative cryptocurrency) to be transferred across borders, and then, it is converted to the destination currency. This streamlines the transfer process and reduces the cost.
- Although it is claimed that they’re an anonymous method of exchange, cryptocurrencies are in reality pseudonymous. They leave a digital trace that authorities such as that of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are able to decipher. This could lead to government agencies or federal authorities monitoring any financial transaction of regular citizens.14
- The popularity of cryptocurrencies has made them a preferred instrument used by criminals to carry out nefarious actions like money laundering and illegal purchases. The story of Dread Pirate Roberts who was the owner of an online marketplace for selling drugs via the internet known as “the dark web,” is widely recognized. Cryptocurrencies are also the preferred choice of hackers using them to carry out ransomware activities.15
- In the concept, cryptocurrencies are supposed to be decentralized, with their wealth being distributed among many people via the blockchain. However, ownership of the cryptocurrency is extremely concentrated. For instance, an MIT study revealed that only 11,000 investors owned roughly 45 percent of Bitcoin’s growing value.16
- One of the principles behind cryptocurrency is that anyone can mine them with computers with access to an Internet connection. However, mining the most popular cryptocurrency takes a lot of energy, often more than the energy that whole nations consume. The high cost of energy and the uncertainty of mining has pushed mining to large companies with revenues that can exceed billions. In an MIT study, 10 percent of miners make up 90% of the mining capacity. of 16
- Although cryptographic system blockchains are extremely secured, other cryptocurrency repository sites, like wallets and exchanges, are susceptible to being compromised. A number of cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges were hacked in time, resulting in thousands of dollars in “coins” stolen.17
- The public markets for cryptocurrency are subject to price volatility. Bitcoin has seen rapid rises and falls in its value, rising to $17,738 in December 2017, before decreasing to $7,575 in subsequent months.3 Some economists consider cryptocurrency to be an unsustainable trend or speculation market.
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