Bitcoin, the world’s most well known cryptocurrency, has begun 2017 by rising above the $1000 mark for the first time in three years.
The digital currency also performed better than any state central bank in the world, climbing 125% in 2016!
While the currency has been known for its volatility in recent years, both up and down, famously climbing to over $1100 per digital ‘coin’ in 2013, and crashing down to below $400 after the Mt. Gox Tokyo exchange was hacked less than a month later, it has become far more stable in the last year or so.
Bitcoin is a web based virtual cryptocurrency that it not controlled or regulated by any single national or international body. Instead it relies on thousands of computers across the world to add new bitcoins into the ether. While it often associated as the preferred means of payment for hackers and purchases on the Dark Web, Bitcoin is also used for people and organisations to ship money around the world quickly and anonymously, and can be used to bypass state capital controls.
China is currently the area in which more Bitcoin is traded than anywhere else on the planet, and has become more prevalent due to fears of more capital controls and also the recent devaluation of the Yuan by the government. India has also seen a marked growth in its trade since November, when the government there removed high denomination bank notes from circulation.
There are now more bitcoins in circulation than at any previous time in its short history. Around 12.5 are created and added to the system every 10 minutes. As a currency, it is currently worth around $16 billion, making it worth around the same as your standard everyday FTSE 100 company.
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