Recently the UK National Health Service was hit by a cyber attack, which stopped many hospitals from being able to access their computers. They were shown a message that demanded a ransom payment.
This payment would have been requested using digital currency.
You may not know what that actually is, and I thought that I would try to explain it in the best way that I can.
Digital currency is also known as cryptocurrency. It is used for transferring funds between countries, and for gambling and gaming. The value is variable, dependent on investment, and as this increases then the value of the digital currency also rises, leading to the news this year, that one Bitcoin unit is now worth more than an ounce of gold.
One of the large companies who deal in this type of currency is called Blockchain.
The way it works is through mathematical coding from computer to computer. To be able to receive a Bitcoin, a user must have a Bitcoin address which is a numerical and alphabetical password. This would be the address where the Bitcoins are transferred.
The system has been used for criminal activity as it allows payments to be made anonymously and avoids any banking and broker fees for exchange rates.
Earlier in the year, China realised that money was leaving the country illegally, as currently, the country has an annual limit on how much money citizens are legally permitted to change into a foreign currency. But, by transferring their devaluing Chinese Yuan into digital currency, this was happening without regulation.
Another more recent digital currency that is gaining in popularity is called Ethereum and while Bitcoin has had support from many governments and investors, the Ethereum system (which works differently) has received backing from a group called the 'Enterprise Ethereum Alliance', which will allow its members to use the currency for large contract transactions. This group includes Microsoft, Intel and JP Morgan.
As digital currency becomes more mainstream in our society, ensuring that it is included in a digital legacy and considering how it will be inherited after death will become more crucial in end of life planning.