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Virtual currency – often referred to as “crypto currency” – is a software-based online payment system whereby units can be transferred between digital wallets without the need for a middleman, which in most cases is a financial institution. It is essentially an attempt to replace standard monetary transactions with a digital medium of exchange, using peer-to-peer networking to facilitate the transfer.

Virtual currencies have no physical form, they exist solely in a digital format. They can be used to purchase goods or services online and they’re being quickly adopted by consumers and merchants all over the world. Virtual currencies are decentralised, meaning there is no single governing body overseeing the digital transactions; presenting a unique challenge to governments and financial institutions globally.

In our infographic guide below we take a look at virtual currencies, specifically Bitcoin, to find out more about its history together with the mining process and the how European governments have responded to its rapid rise…


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