Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions and to control the creation of new units. Cryptocurrencies operate independently of a central bank and are decentralized, meaning they use a distributed ledger technology called blockchain to keep track of transactions.

The most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created in 2009. Since then, many other cryptocurrencies have been developed, such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. Cryptocurrencies can be used to buy goods and services online, and some merchants even accept them as payment in physical stores.

One of the key features of cryptocurrencies is their decentralized nature, which means they are not controlled by any government or financial institution. Instead, transactions are verified by a network of users and recorded on a public ledger that is maintained by the community.

Cryptocurrencies have gained popularity due to their potential for anonymity, security, and ease of use. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as their volatility and the potential for their use in illegal activities.