El concepto o idea de criptomoneda fue descrita por primera vez por Wei Dai, en 1998, donde propuso la idea de crear un nuevo tipo de dinero descentralizado que usara la criptografía como medio de control,11​ mientras que la primera criptomoneda que se creó fue Bitcoin, creada en 2009 por el desarrollador de pseudónimo Satoshi Nakamoto, el cual usa el conjunto de funciones criptográficas SHA-2 (exactamente el SHA-256) como su esquema PoW (prueba de trabajo).12​13​ Posteriormente, han aparecido otras criptomonedas, como Namecoin (un intento de descentralizar el sistema de nombres de dominio DNS, lo que haría muy difícil la censura de internet), Litecoin (el cual utiliza scrypt como esquema PoW, así como también, para tener una confirmación de transacción más rápida), Peercoin (el cual utiliza un esquema híbrido PoW/PoS [prueba de trabajo/prueba de participación], además tiene una tasa de inflación del alrededor de 1 %) y Freicoin (el cuál implementó el concepto de Silvio Gesell agregando depreciación en el tiempo).14​ Muchas otras criptomonedas han sido creadas, aunque no todas han sido exitosas, en especial aquellas que no han aportado ninguna innovación. 

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↑ «Decreto Constituyente sobre criptoactivos y la criptomoneda soberana Petro». Travieso Evans Com. Archivado desde el original el 16 de mayo de 2018. Consultado el 16 de mayo de 2018. «Artículo 10. Toda persona natural o jurídica, pública o privada, que pretenda crear un criptoactivo, deberá hacer público un documento donde exponga todas las condiciones de su creación, funcionamiento y eventual respaldo. El Ejecutivo Nacional, publicará el "Libro Blanco" de la Criptomoneda venezolana Petro. En la que se regulará la fase inicial, las condiciones e incentivos, los procesos iniciales de subastas y asignaciones directas que se realicen y el destino de los fondos.»

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Decentralized cryptocurrency is produced by the entire cryptocurrency system collectively, at a rate which is defined when the system is created and which is publicly known. In centralized banking and economic systems such as the Federal Reserve System, corporate boards or governments control the supply of currency by printing units of fiat money or demanding additions to digital banking ledgers. In case of decentralized cryptocurrency, companies or governments cannot produce new units, and have not so far provided backing for other firms, banks or corporate entities which hold asset value measured in it. The underlying technical system upon which decentralized cryptocurrencies are based was created by the group or individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto.[23]

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Izabella Kaminska, the editor of FT Alphaville, has pointed out that criminals are using Ethereum to run Ponzi schemes and other forms of investment fraud.[68] The article was based on a paper from the University of Cagliari, which placed the number of Ethereum smart contracts which facilitate Ponzi schemes at nearly 10% of 1384 smart contracts examined. However, it also estimated that only 0.05% of the transactions on the network were related to such contracts.[69]
The proof-of-stake is a method of securing a cryptocurrency network and achieving distributed consensus through requesting users to show ownership of a certain amount of currency. It is different from proof-of-work systems that run difficult hashing algorithms to validate electronic transactions. The scheme is largely dependent on the coin, and there's currently no standard form of it. Some cryptocurrencies use a combined proof-of-work/proof-of-stake scheme.[16]
On 21 November 2017, the Tether cryptocurrency announced they were hacked, losing $31 million in USDT from their primary wallet.[71] The company has 'tagged' the stolen currency, hoping to 'lock' them in the hacker's wallet (making them unspendable). Tether indicates that it is building a new core for its primary wallet in response to the attack in order to prevent the stolen coins from being used.
An initial coin offering (ICO) is a controversial means of raising funds for a new cryptocurrency venture. An ICO may be used by startups with the intention of avoiding regulation. However, securities regulators in many jurisdictions, including in the U.S., and Canada have indicated that if a coin or token is an "investment contract" (e.g., under the Howey test, i.e., an investment of money with a reasonable expectation of profit based significantly on the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others), it is a security and is subject to securities regulation. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency (usually in the form of "tokens") is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, often bitcoin or ether.[47][48][49]

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In May 2018, Bitcoin Gold (and two other cryptocurrencies) were hit by a successful 51% hashing attack by an unknown actor, in which exchanges lost estimated $18m.[citation needed] In June 2018, Korean exchange Coinrail was hacked, losing US$37 million worth of altcoin. Fear surrounding the hack was blamed for a $42 billion cryptocurrency market selloff.[72] On 9 July 2018 the exchange Bancor had $23.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen.[73]

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Although there are some similarities between BTC and LTC, you can’t define Litecoin without pointing out some key differences, such as instant and near-zero cost transactions, increased speed of adding a new block into the Blockchain (2.5 minutes against 10 in the Bitcoin network) and a scrypt usage in its Proof-of-Work process to make it easier for regular PC users to mine new blocks against ASIC miners. It is also one of the first cryptocurrencies that adopted SegWit.

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Blockchains are secure by design and are an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been achieved with a blockchain.[29] Blockchains solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server, assuming no 51% attack (that has worked against several cryptocurrencies).

On 25 March 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes. This means bitcoin will be subject to capital gains tax.[62] In a paper published by researchers from Oxford and Warwick, it was shown that bitcoin has some characteristics more like the precious metals market than traditional currencies, hence in agreement with the IRS decision even if based on different reasons.[63]

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Las criptodivisas descentralizadas son producidas colectivamente por todo el sistema, a un radio públicamente conocido que es especificado cuando ese sistema se crea. En los bancos centrales y en los sistemas económicos tradicionales, los gobiernos controlan la cantidad de monedas en el mercado (por ejemplo, imprimiendo moneda o exigiendo adiciones a los libros de contabilidad). En el caso de las criptomonedas descentralizadas, las empresas o los gobiernos no pueden producir nuevas unidades. Las criptomonedas tampoco tienen un activo detrás que respalde su valor, al contrario de las monedas tradicionales. El sistema actual está basado por el individuo o grupo conocido como Satoshi Nakamoto.19​

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Una criptomoneda, criptodivisa (del inglés cryptocurrency) o criptoactivo es un medio digital de intercambio que utiliza criptografía fuerte para asegurar las transacciones financieras, controlar la creación de unidades adicionales y verificar la transferencia de activos.1​2​3​ Las criptomonedas son un tipo de divisa alternativa y de moneda digital. Existe controversia respecto a que las criptomonedas tienen que ser de control descentralizado o monedas centralizadas por los bancos centrales u otra entidad.
Las criptomonedas hacen posible el llamado internet del valor, también conocido por las siglas IoV (del inglés internet of value), también llamado Internet del dinero: son aplicaciones de Internet que permiten el intercambio de valor en forma de criptomonedas. Este valor pueden ser contratos, propiedad intelectual, acciones o cualquier propiedad de algo con valor. Las cosas de valor ya se podían intercambiar antes usando sistemas de pago como Paypal. Sin embargo la diferencia entre pagar con algo como Paypal y pagar con una criptomoneda consiste en que pagar con Paypal requiere que el pago se haga a través de redes privadas como las de las tarjetas de crédito y bancos, mientras que el pago usando criptomonedas no tiene intermediarios. Va directamente del comprador al vendedor. De esta forma, se tiene un sistema de transferencia universal de valor, libre de intermediaciones.
The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed their use and trade,[51] others have banned or restricted it. According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in eight countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.[52] In the United States and Canada, state and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.[53]

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In May of 2017, the world’s first ‘Lightning Network’ transaction took place using Litecoin, where 0.00000001 LTC was transferred from Zurich to San Francisco in less than one second. The open-source Litecoin software can be downloaded, used, modified and distributed by individuals without fear of corruption, as the independent verification of source code and binaries makes for a completely transparent process.

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