‘Cryptocurrencies’ are digital assets, designed to function as a medium of exchange, where cryptography is used to regulate its creation, exchange and management. Rather than relying on banks, governments and other central authorities, cryptocurrencies utilise the “blockchain”, an immutable public ledger that keeps a record of all transactions that have taken place on the network. In theory, cryptocurrencies use peer-to-peer technology to operate, meaning that transaction management and money issuance are carried out collectively by the network in a decentralized manner, rather than by central authorities.
The supply of most cryptocurrencies is regulated by the software design of most blockchains, as well as by current users of the network (primarily developers and miners who usually wield the most power). Thus, any one individual, organisation or even government cannot manipulate cryptocurrencies very easily (although with centralisation and collusion of larger actors, it is theoretically possible). The limited inflation of the money supply in cryptocurrency systems such as Bitcoin is distributed evenly to miners who help secure the network.