Virtual Currency for Smartphones | Shift - Living in the Digital Age | DW | 13.01.2014
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Virtual Currency for Smartphones

Virtual currencies are increasing in popularity. Bitcoin is the most well-known, but more than a hundred other alternative currencies are in existence around the globe. Their supporters hope to end the banks' monopoly on currency.

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Bitcoins were introduced as an alternative form of currency in 2009. Users can exchange standard currency for bitcoins on the Net, and Bitcoin ATMs have now been introduced in North America. But the fledgling currency isn't a very stable one; within a year, the value of a bitcoin fluctuated between 10 euros and 715 euros. However, it's easy to spend bitcoins using a Smartphone, and more and more shops and restaurants are starting to accept the currency. The money changes hands using an anonymous, 34-character Bitcoin address, which means it is also used to conduct illegal trade via the Internet.