The existing Cryptocurrencies allow us to buy and sell goods and services anonymously. Most of the major Cryptocurrencies are based on Blockchain technology, a data structure that records the information of transactions on millions of computers around the world, enabling them to be verified to confirm the reliability of the information. Blockchain technology, which has emerged with the creation of Cryptocurrencies, has been of great relevance in enabling technological solutions in sectors such as energy, industry and financial sector.
In 2018, in "The Economics of Cybersecurity" and "Cybersecurity in Portugal" (Barros, 2018a and 2018b), ransomware was identified as one of the main risks associated with the Cyberspace. However, according to Microsoft (2019), more recent studies indicate a decline in ransomware attacks, with attackers targeting their activity to cryptocurrency mining.
Considering this new perspective, which attributes to Cryptocurrencies not only a set of opportunities but also a set of threats, this study identifies the main advantages and the main risks associated with the Cryptocurrencies.
If, on the positive side, the speed of transaction, the reduced cost, the privacy or the permanent availability of the system are highlighted, on the other hand, concerns are identified regarding the volatility, reduced number of stores supplying goods and services that accept crypto-currencies as payment, high energy cost and environmental threats, potential criminal attacks, money laundering and funding of criminal activity.