Virtual currencies are a decentralized form of “electronic cash” that users send to each other through a peer-to-peer payment system in exchange for goods and services. Consumers and investors have long debated the new type of currency’s long-term legitimacy. While some have flocked to use and invest in virtual currencies, others warn of a possible bubble in the making.
This whitepaper offers an introduction to the world of virtual currencies. We begin by looking back at the history of currency and point to successes, failures and trends in an effort to show what is required of any currency to be successful. With that context, we then provide an overview of the predominant virtual currency, Bitcoin.