As more financial transactions move online, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have emerged as cutting-edge alternatives to cash. In some ways, these currencies mimic cash: transactions are anonymous and clear quickly. The big difference is that because they are not tethered to a government or central bank, values can fluctuate wildly.
But what if a central bank like the Federal Reserve were to throw its weight behind a cryptocurrency? That currency would gain widespread acceptance, according to Fed researcher David Andolfatto. Unbanked consumers, who are largely restricted from buying goods or paying bills online, would be among the most active users, he suggests.
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