digital medium of exchange using cryptography on a ledger to secure transactions and to verify transfer of ownership

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange through a computer network that is not reliant on any central authority, such as a government or bank, to uphold or maintain it.

Quotes edit

  • The worst thing you can do is lay the wet blanket of government over this emerging area that frankly a lot of people are going to with or without government. Maybe that's the warning sign. This is going to happen. People are going to continue to move in this direction because cryptocurrency and everything that comes with it is a response to too much government.
  • From the day I started digging into the crypto world, I had seen nothing but red flags. Why were all these companies based in infamous offshore regulatory havens? What was up with all these random virtual coins that were supposedly worth tens of billions of dollars? Was that, just maybe, a precarious foundation for the future of finance? Were they all scams? But by the time I visited Bankman-Fried’s island hideaway, the logic of the financial world had broken down. Hardly anyone knew what cryptocurrencies were for. Even supposed experts couldn’t explain them. It was unclear why many of the coins would be worth anything at all. But from 2020 to early 2022, the prices of Bitcoin and hundreds of other lesser coins—with ridiculous names like Dogecoin, Solana, Polkadot, and Smooth Love Potion—were going up and up. While I was in the Bahamas, people traded more than $500 billion worth of them, and the market value of all coins combined topped $2 trillion.
    • Zeke Faux, Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall (2023)
  • Crypto boosters claimed they were in the vanguard of a revolution that would democratize finance and lead to generational wealth for those who believed. The roar of the rising prices drowned out the skeptics. Incomprehensible jargon became inescapable. Blockchain. DeFi. Web3. The metaverse. What these terms meant was beside the point. Newspapers, TV, and social media bombarded potential investors with stories of regular people who invested in them and got rich quick. None of this led to any sort of mass movement to actually use crypto in the real world. Nobody tossed their credit cards, closed their bank accounts, and abandoned the dollar or the euro in favor of, say, Cardano coins. But the hucksters, zealots, opportunists, and outright scammers who created the boom got unbelievably, unimaginably, impossibly rich
    • Zeke Faux, Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall (2023)
  • Bankman-Fried told me that as many as five of his colleagues at FTX were billionaires. And that was just a single crypto company. Many unprofitable start-ups with questionably legal business plans were valued in the billions. Changpeng Zhao, who founded another crypto exchange called Binance, made a fortune estimated at $96 billion. The numbers got so large that even the most delusional crypto fantasies started to sound reasonable. It seemed like nothing could stop crypto’s manic rise. Until, of course, the house of cards collapsed. Starting in the summer of 2022, many companies in crypto were revealed to be frauds. The bubble popped. About $2 trillion of market value was erased. Billionaires went bankrupt. Millions of ordinary people lost their savings. The financial authorities who’d allowed scammers to run rampant finally decided it was time to lay down the law. Bankman-Fried and many of his associates were arrested. Crypto didn’t disappear entirely, but the fever had broken.
    • Zeke Faux, Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall (2023)
  • This is the story of the greatest financial mania the world has ever seen. It started as an investigation of a coin called Tether that served as a kind of bank for the industry. But it morphed into a two-year journey that would stretch from Manhattan to Miami, to Switzerland, Italy, the Bahamas, El Salvador, and the Philippines. It is based on hundreds of interviews with people at every level of crypto, from gamblers to coders to promoters to billionaires. I visited their yachts and parties at the pinnacle of the frenzy and their hideouts as the authorities were closing in. From the beginning, I thought that crypto was pretty dumb. And it turned out to be even dumber than I imagined. Never before has so much wealth been generated with such flimsy schemes. But what shocked me was not the vapidity of the crypto bros. It was how their heedlessness had devastating consequences for people across the world. By the end, I’d find myself in Cambodia, investigating how crypto fueled a vast human-trafficking scheme run by Chinese gangsters.
    • Zeke Faux, Number Go Up: Inside Crypto's Wild Rise and Staggering Fall (2023)
  • Having alternative currencies is great, right, because, historically, government's had a monopoly on currency. … At the end of the day, why should only politicians—either directly or indirectly—control the currency? We can reduce transaction cost, provide an alternative, and—look, I don't know whether it'll be Bitcoin or not—but I think the concept of digital currencies is here to stay, and the fact that a politician would write to try to ban them in their infancy is just the wrong way to go about it. Let the market determine whether there's any value there or not. … If people are saying, "Look, we gotta ban Bitcoin because it's somewhat anonymous and anonymous transactions can occur," or "because it's possible for criminals to use it," all of those arguments can be used to say, "Just ban dollars." … The government doesn't need to "treat" it at all… The government policy should be completely agnostic about what unit of exchange is used.

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