virtual currency

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virtual currency,

a means of payment that is electronically created and stored, more specifically an unregulated electronic medium of exchange that operates like a currency but is created and controlled by computer software; also called digital currency. Virtual currencies generally are not backed by a national government and are not considered legal tender (Ecuador introduced a government-controlled electronic currency in 2015). They range from those used by gamers in online multiplayer games to Bitcoin and other digital currencies that seek to replace or supplement existing legal tender as a medium of exchange. Bitcoin, launched in 2009, is an electronic currency that uses cryptographic software and a peer-to-peer computer network to generate the currency and record transactions in it; because of this it is classed as a cryptocurrency. The best-known and most widely circulated virtual currency, Bitcoin allows its users to make online payments that are not subject to government or bank scrutiny, which has led law enforcement officials to express concerns over its potential or actual use in bypassing currency controls, in money laundering, and in financing terrorist or criminal activities. Unlike money stored in bank accounts or credit cards used to transactions, Bitcoin is subject to limited protections and regulations; it is not governed or supervised by any central authority. Bitcoin has seen a slowly increasing acceptance by merchants as a means of payment, and in 2015 the establishment of a debit card that could be linked to a Bitcoin account allowed the virtual currency to be used to pay merchants who do not accept Bitcoin. Bitcoin also has been subject to speculation on exchanges where it is traded, which has led to significant fluctuations in its value at times, including an enormous spike in its value in late 2013 and a largely similar if more gradual increase beginning in 2015. Such volatility has led critics to question Bitcoin's utility and viability as a currency and regard it primarily as a speculative investment. Critics have also questioned its ability to act as a currency because there is a cap on the number of currency units that can be created using the software. Governments have generally not treated Bitcoin as a form of money but as property or a commodity; some governments have sought to ban the use of it because of its potential for evading currency controls and government scrutiny. In 2014 Bitcoin software was revealed to have a computer bug that subjected it to attack by computer hackers and theft; the bug led to the bankruptcy of the largest Bitcoin exchange at the time. Another exchange had a security breach and suffered a large loss in 2016. Bitcoin can also be stolen through the theft of the private cryptographic keys used to identify ownership of the currency and through other means.

virtual currency

Electronic money. The term is often applied to Bitcoin; however, it may also refer to simulated money used in games or any currency stored in a computer. See Bitcoin and digital wallet.
References in periodicals archive ?
Officials in Cyprus are undecided whether the virtual currency bitcoin is a hazard or a blessing, with government and central bank officials now changing their tune and saying they expect guidance from their European Union peers.
The website of MtGox suddenly went dark on Tuesday with no explanation, and the company's Tokyo office was empty -- the only activity was outside, where a handful of protesters said they had lost money investing in the virtual currency.
How fitting then to accompany it with a virtual currency.
Bitcoin, the popular virtual currency, is facing regulatory hurdles in India.
The clampdown in China may have taken the wind out of bitcoin's rise in value, but demand for the virtual currency is still rising, particularly in markets where consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices and computers for online purchases.
BitPesa, a Kenyan start-up, will use the Bitcoin virtual currency to cut transaction costs for Kenyans working abroad who send home $1.
1 AMAZON launching a virtual currency called Amazon Coins.
Through this affiliation Tylted's enormous user base will benefit from the rewards and virtual currency offered by Beintoo's unique platform.
We are heading towards a world where millions of corporate and individualised currencies will be part of a single market, and once their relative exchange value is fixed in real time, the days for individual currency will be over," predicts boss of virtual currency company
Jonathon Fisher, head of global consumer finance research at Euromonitor International, said in a report that "Facebook Credits have the potential to become the official currency for the internet in a way that no other virtual currency before it could ever do.
The campaign includes branded missions, virtual item giveaways and new State Farm-branded promotions that let players earn bonuses of virtual currency.
Nobody will actually see a sucre--at least not for awhile--because it's a virtual currency.

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