Digital currency is a form of currency that is available only in digital or electronic form. It is also called digital money, electronic money, electronic currency, or cybercash.
- Digital currencies are currencies that are only accessible with computers or mobile phones because they only exist in electronic form.
- Typical digital currencies do not require intermediaries and are often the cheapest method for trading currencies.
- All cryptocurrencies are digital currencies, but not all digital currencies are cryptocurrencies.
- Some of the advantages of digital currencies are that they enable seamless transfer of value and can make transaction costs cheaper.
- Some of the disadvantages of digital currencies are that they can volatile to trade and are susceptible to hacks.
Understanding Digital Currency
Digital currencies do not have physical attributes and are available only in digital form. Transactions involving digital currencies are made using computers or electronic wallets connected to the internet or designated networks. In contrast, physical currencies, such as banknotes and minted coins, are tangible, meaning they have definite physical attributes and characteristics. Transactions involving such currencies are made possible only when their holders have physical possession of these currencies.
Digital currencies have utility similar to that of physical currencies. They can be used to purchase goods and pay for services. They can also find restricted use among certain online communities, such as gaming sites, gambling portals, or social networks.
Digital currencies also enable instant transactions that can be seamlessly executed across borders. For instance, it is possible for a person located in the United States to make payments in digital currency to a counterparty residing in Singapore, provided they are both connected to the same network.
Characteristics of Digital Currencies
- As mentioned earlier, digital currencies only exist in digital form. They do not have a physical equivalent.
- Digital currencies can be centralized or decentralized. Fiat currency, which exists in physical form, is a centralized system of production and distribution by a central bank and government agencies. Prominent cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are examples of decentralized digital currency systems.
- Digital currencies can transfer value. Use of digital currencies requires a mental shift in the existing framework for currencies, where they are associated with sale and purchase transactions for goods and services. Digital currencies, however, extend the concept. For example, a gaming network token can extend the life of a player or provide them with extra superpowers. This is not a purchase or sale transaction but, instead, represents a transfer of value.