How safe are cryptocurrency investments?

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The mathematics behind cryptocurrency

In a previous Mathematical Investor blog, we presented an overview of the mathematics behind blockchain technology, which is the basis of all cryptocurrency systems. At the present time, most systems are based on the SHA-256 algorithm, which is a specific instance of the Elliptic curve digital signature algorithm.

To attempt to break SHA-256 by brute force computation, one would need to exhaust over 2256 ≈ 1077 possible private keys, which is comparable to the number of atoms in the visible universe. In other words, while the computations necessary to actually

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