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Virtual currencies have been part of the world’s monetary system since 2009, when Bitcoin became the first of what is now a handful of these so-called cryptocurrencies.

Digital currency transactions take place in online exchanges, lending an anonymity that has led to shadowy associations with drug trading and money laundering. But that anonymity, and the convenience with which the transactions can be made, have also fueled the popularity of cryptocurrencies. More than 6 million people now own virtual currency — including many investors looking to trade the currencies to join the ranks of “Bitcoin billionaires.”

As popular as they have become, virtual currencies may soon play an even bigger role in our financial lives. In part over fears that existing cryotocurrencies (which operate independently of governments) will make it harder to detect tax evasion, Sweden, Canada, China and other nations have announced plans to launch their own official virtual currencies. In the case of Sweden, that could come as soon as 2020.

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A visual representations of the digital cryptocurrencies, Ripple, Bitcoin, Ethernum and Litecoin.Chesnot / Getty Images

 

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/how-bitcoin-other-cryptocurrencies-could-kill-cash-ncna857036

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