"Since Bitcoin was introduced a decade ago, about 2,100 cryptocurrencies have been developed. Cryptocurrencies are digital representations of value that have no status as legal tender and are administered using distributed ledger technology, running on a network of independent, peer-topeer computers. Cryptocurrencies are controversial. Some think they will revolutionize the international payments system for the better; others are skeptical of the business model, calling it a scam. The interest and debate surrounding cryptocurrencies has led some central banks to examine whether the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies could be used to create digital versions of fiat currencies, which would have legal status in their jurisdiction of issue. Governments around the world are taking different approaches to cryptocurrencies and digital fiat currencies, an area of increasing focus for international organizations and forums underpinning the global economy. As Congress considers issues related to digital currencies, including whether to regulate further the cryptocurrency industry, the approaches taken by other governments and international bodies may be of interest."
CRS Report for Congress, R45440
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/