Cryptocurrency operates on a decentralized technology called blockchain. Transactions are recorded in blocks, linked together in a chain, and stored across a network of computers (nodes). Each participant in the network has a copy of the entire blockchain. When someone initiates a cryptocurrency transaction, it is broadcast to the network. Miners (or validators, depending on the consensus algorithm) then compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles to validate and add the new transaction to the blockchain. Once added, the transaction is irreversible. Cryptography ensures the security of transactions and controls the creation of new units. Key components include a public ledger (blockchain), consensus mechanism (proof-of-work or proof-of-stake), and cryptographic techniques for secure transactions. Bitcoin, for example, uses proof-of-work, while other cryptocurrencies may employ alternative consensus mechanisms.
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