Most of us will use what’s called ‘electronic money’ or ‘e-money’ every day; whenever you swipe your credit card or buy something online, you’re using money that exists in banking systems rather than in physical form, i.e. notes and coins.
Over the past ten years, a bold new idea has been gathering pace: if our moneyisn’t physically printed or minted by a government, why shouldn’t its value be determined by other means? Do we still need to rely on a slow and outdated banking system, or might there be another way?
Digital currencies use a decentralised system based on blockchain technology – strong cryptography that secures financial transactions, controls the creation of additional units and verifies the transfer of assets.
In 2019, the cumulative market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies was $237 billion – more than double the 2018 value of $129 billion. Until 2016, the total market cap was under $18 billion
There have now been over 500 million blockchain transactions.
There are now over 42 million blockchain wallet users worldwide. This number had quadrupled since 2016.
As of February 2020, the value locked into the DeFi (decentralised finance) markets exceeded $1 billion.