digital money




crypto store (2) currency
asset transfer anonymous
wallet encrypt pretty much
accept book (2) standard
fee exchange correspond (2)
extra privacy transaction
incur damage plunge
log (2) intend nevertheless
boom drawback capitalization





What is a crypto-currency?

Kitty loves the internet.

And on it, she buys Bitcoins, Ethereum, Monero — not real money, but crypto-assets, which she manages with the help of smartphone apps, as do some five million others in Germany alone.

Kitty stores her crypto-currency in what are called wallets. They’re anonymous and encrypted. She can use her digital currency to buy pretty much anything online — a growing number of stores accept these currencies.

With her crypto-currency, she can book a hotel, say in Moscow. The payment process takes ten minutes.

It could take up to four days by standard, international bank transfer.

And it would cost money.

The corresponding bank’s exchange rates and fees would make a transfer of €250, twenty-eight Euros more expensive, whereas crypto-currencies transferred wallet-to-wallet incurs almost no extra costs.

There’s no bank involved. No state. No central bank. And no privacy concerns.

Kitty’s crypto-currency isn’t logged in any central location. The online ledger of every transaction can be accessed by all users.

But the transactions are anonymous. That means Kitty could be buying drugs or weapons without the police knowing.

That’s been damaging to crypto-currency’s image.

There are also security concerns: in August 2016, anonymous hackers stole €58 million worth of Bitcoins, causing the price to plunge by 20%.

Nonetheless, the boom in crypto-currencies is unstoppable. At the start of 2017, their market capitalization was €17 billion.

Kitty intends to keep shopping with Bitcoins, even from her Moscow hotel room. The only drawback: no time for sightseeing.

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1. Bitcoins (and Ethereum and Monero) consists of coins and bills. True or false? Are stored in leather wallets?

2. Can they only be used to purchase things on Amazon and eBay?

3. Cryto-currencies have advantages over standard international banks transfers. Is this right or wrong? What are some of the advantages?

4. Is Bitcoin part of a bank or government agency or is it independent? Can the government or bank view monetary transactions?

5. Are there any drawbacks or disadvantages to using crypto-currencies?

6. Bitcoins are growing in use, acceptance and popularity. Is this correct or incorrect?


A. Have you or your friends used Bitcoins or other crypto-currencies? What about your friends?

B. Do you see stores or online shops that say they accept Bitcoins?

C. What do you think about Bitcoins? Would you prefer them over cash or even conventional banks?

D. What do banks and governments think about crypto-currencies?

E. What will happen in the future regarding crypto-currencies?


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