Cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more relevant as we see the growth in interest and investment in them. Today the value of Bitcoin went beyond U$11,000, to the surprise of those who were still perplex of it hitting the U$10,000 mark yesterday.
Bitcoin has gained 10 times the value in had in the end of 2016 to date. Whether Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could have an impact on the ‘exorbitant privilege’ of the United States to print the “world’s international-currency” seems still speculative, but it is certainly important enough for the Bank of England and the FED to acknowledge it by denying it. Understanding how a cryptocurrency works technically is therefore not without relevance.
Instead of banks, cryptocurrencies rely on a system of decentralized trust-less verification to transactions. Here is a comprehensive video on how cryptocurrencies actually work:
The fuzz behind cryptocurrencies owes much to its principle, blockchain, which can be applied just anywhere. The idea of having smart contracts that are encrypted and verified by a vast network of people online makes one wonder about the future role of notaries. Have you ever wondered how you can accede to the public registry of smart contracts of the Ethereum network? This article is quite straight-forward and almost makes me want to try programming:
If you are insane or you just feel like spending your bitcoins to help calm the markets, here is a map of where bitcoins are accepted as a means of payment around the (physical) world: https://coinmap.org/# .
 Eichengreen, B. (2011). Exorbitant privilege : The rise and fall of the dollar. Oxford : Oxford University Press.
 The Guardian, ‘Bitcoin price soars above $11,000 as central bankers seek to calm fears’, 29 November, 2017. Accessed online at 19:25: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/29/bitcoin-world-economy-bank-of-england-jon-cunliffe-price