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Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies with a mostly decentralized, always distributed and cryptographically secured payment system. They include Bitcoin and Litcoin. Cryptocurrencies have emerged as a serious alternative to payment among private individuals in certain countries. While virtual money used to be obtained by providing computing power and network infrastructure as well, today it usually has to be acquired by conventional means.
The purpose of cryptocurrencies is to enable cashless payments without the dependence, oversight, or involvement of banks and government agencies. They are supported in some places, and opposed in others, such as by government agencies. Currency units are generated in fixed numbers after prior agreement in the relevant community. Blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. Transactions are recorded and described with it. Changes are stored on different computers and are thus difficult to manipulate.
Cryptocurrencies are controversially discussed in business and science. Software errors may occur with them, they are susceptible to manipulation by organizations and in terms of prices, as well as data theft. Data loss may also occur, due to both human and technical failure. Last but not least, cybercriminals who cripple systems with malware often get paid in Bitcoin. Conversely, dependencies can be avoided. Information ethics and business ethics address moral issues of cryptocurrency and see both opportunities and risks in peer-to-peer concepts.