A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
Ethereum is a platform powered by blockchain technology that is best known for its native cryptocurrency—called Ether or ETH or simply Ethereum. The distributed nature of blockchain technology is what makes the Ethereum platform secure, and that security enables ETH to accrue value.
The Ethereum platform supports Ether in addition to a network of decentralized apps, otherwise known as “dApps.” Smart contracts, which originated on the Ethereum platform, are a central component of how the platform operates. Many decentralized finance (DeFi) and other applications use smart contracts in conjunction with blockchain technology.
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.
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