#CyberFLASH: What money without borders or bankers looks like

Hacker-took-83K-Bitcoins-cyber-experts-620x330How Canadians interact with money – both physical and digital – is changing as financial technology evolves.

Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency since it emerged in 2009, but it stands far from alone on the financial landscape.

There are hundreds of cryptocurrencies worldwide, which are in essence a medium of exchange like the Canadian dollar that are fully decentralized from the control of governments. Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that use encryption to generate and regulate the units of currency across many computers, so they are not issued by a central authority.

Though each may be tailored to fulfill certain criteria, such as those that focus more heavily on privacy and anonymity, cryptocurrencies were all designed to meet a number of basic aims.

“The whole point about cryptocurrency is it’s a fast and inexpensive way to move money around the world outside of the banking system,” says Danny Wettreich, the founder and chief executive officer of GreenBank Capital Inc. He points out that the advantage is that it can be done without an intermediary, such as a bank, which would habitually take its cut for rendering its services.

As a result, Toronto-based GreenBank Capital, which also has offices in the United States and the Britain, has developed GreenCoinX, which it calls the world’s first cryptocurrency where users are not anonymous and features digital identification. Opening a GreenCoinX account is much like opening a traditional bank account, where users must present government-issued identification, such as a passport or driving licence, to qualify.

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