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Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have been an important factor in some economic activities. For example, Bitcoin is the main payment method for ransomware attackers and retailers on the Darknet. It is therefore useful to understand the features of cryptocurrencies and their economic implications. In this research, we use bitcoin, Ether, and XRP, the three cryptocurrencies with the highest market values as of this writing, as well as Libra, which is forthcoming and topical, as examples to analyze their features. Specifically, we argue that these cryptocurrencies are fundamentally different due to differences in the following factors: the identity management of their ledger writers, their consensus algorithms, and their coin supply. We discuss how these factors determine cryptocurrency performance, including security, privacy, and financial influence. We also discuss potential research topics around these cryptocurrencies that are still open.
KeywordsBlockchain Cryptocurrency Bitcoin XRP Ether Libra
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