Murder for hire. Drug trafficking. Embezzlement. Money laundering… These might sound like plot lines of a thriller, but they are true stories from the short history of cryptocurrencies – digital currencies conceived by computer hackers and cryptographers that represent a completely new sort of financial transaction that could soon become mainstream. The most famous – or infamous – cryptocurrency is bitcoin. But look beyond its tarnished reputation and something much shinier emerges. The technology that underlies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – the blockchain – is hailed as the greatest advancement since the invention of the internet. It is now moving away from being the backbone for a digital currency and making inroads into other core concepts of society: identity, ownership and even the rule of law. The End of Money is your essential introduction to this transformative new technology that has governments, entrepreneurs and forward-thinking people from all walks of life sitting up and taking notice. ABOUT THE SERIES New Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that’s open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.