A cryptocurrency is a digital medium of exchange, made possibly through the use of cryptography. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency in use. Most cryptocurrencies embrace the ideas of peer to peer, decentralization and open source. No individual, group or organization can control cryptocurrencies.
Besides Bitcoin many other cryptocurrencies have sprung up since 2009. Some notable ones are Primecoin, which is finding big prime numbers in the process and Curecoin, which is the first coin that is trying to do something very useful for humanity (besides creating a new medium of exchange). Others such as Namecoin and Datacoin are finding ways to respectively allow registering domain names (.bit) and storing data.
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