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Cryptocurrency is a kind of digital currency, accounting for the internal units of account of which is provided by a decentralized payment system (there is no internal or external administrator or any analogue thereof), which operates in a fully automatic mode. The cryptocurrency itself does not have any special material or electronic form - it is just a number indicating the amount of these units of account, which is recorded in the corresponding position of the information package of the data transfer protocol and often is not even encrypted, like all other information about transactions between system addresses.
The term cryptocurrency was fixed after the publication of an article about the Bitcoin system “Crypto currency” (Cryptographic currency), published in 2011 in Forbes magazine. At the same time, both the creator of bitcoin and many other authors used the term "electronic cash" (English electronic cash).
Cryptographic methods are involved in the mechanisms for generating an address and verifying the authority to operate with it (digital signature based on a public key system, the order is available only to the owner of the secret key corresponding to this address), as well as the formation of a transaction package and its relationship with other packages (sequential hashing, which makes it impossible to change information about the amount of cryptocurrency). At the same time, the system does not have any information about the owners of the addresses or about the fact that the address was created (an address can be generated completely autonomously, even without connecting to the network and not reporting anything to the network subsequently) - that is, there is no mechanism to verify that the recipient's address really exists or that the access key to it is not lost. The lack of information about the owner is the basis (but not limited to this) of the anonymity of the participants in transactions. In terms of their economic conditions and consequences, cryptocurrency payments are more similar to cash payments than cashless payment options, although cryptocurrencies are developed primarily for remote purchases (for example, via the Internet).
Payment (transfer of cryptocurrency between addresses) occurs without intermediaries and is irreversible - there is no mechanism for canceling a confirmed operation, including cases when a payment was sent to an erroneous or non-existent address, or when a transaction was made by third parties who became aware of the private key. No one can block (arrest) a cryptocurrency either at a specific address or in general, even temporarily, it is always at the disposal of the owner of the private key to this address. True, multi-signature technology allows you to voluntarily involve a third party (arbiter) and implement "reversible transactions" that can occur against the will of one of the parties. More complex conditions (smart contracts) are implemented using special scripting languages. The problem of double spending inherent in electronic payments is solved using technologies such as blockchain, directed acyclic graph, consensus registry (ledger) and others. Transaction information is usually not encrypted and is available in the clear without registration in the system.
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