It has been described as "a fraud" by its critics, and its sharp increase in prices during 2017 resembles the fashion of the tulip of the seventeenth century. But love it or hate it, Bitcoin challenged the detractors and delighted the defenders by breaking the $ 10,000 price barrier, an increase of more than ten percent over the course of this year.
The semi-anonymous cryptocurrency, which was launched in 2009 by an anonymous developer, now has a market capitalization of $ 171bn. While bitcoin in the past mounted a boom cycle and then went bankrupt, the price skyrocketed in 2017.
Bitcoin was worth less than $ 1,000 at the beginning of the year, but the public's enthusiasm and measures to take the cryptocurrency to the financial mainstream The system has raised its price.
On Wednesday morning in Asia, bitcoin rose to $ 10,379 before falling slightly to $ 10,240 at noon in Hong Kong.
CME Group, the US exchange operator UU., Announced last month plans to launch bitcoin futures, subject to regulatory approval. This would allow Wall Street – many of which have not been able to venture into bitcoin due to the lack of infrastructure and financial products – speculate about bitcoin as in other commodities such as gold.
Meanwhile, on the retail front it has allowed small investors to bet on the volatile cryptocurrency. But this has raised concerns that some traditional markets may be excessively exposed.
Bitcoin remains relatively illiquid, prone to price variations and defined differently by different regulators, factors that deter bears from buying into the emerging badet. In addition, the infrastructure that supports Bitcoin is still prone to attacks and other problems.
Dark web links
Buying and storing bitcoins has long been seen as a technical challenge. So a move by Square, the fintech company led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, to give a customer test group the chance to buy bitcoin through its Cash application in early November was greeted with enthusiasm.
Although bitcoin may have emerged as a reserve for the rebels, originally popular with people who buy drugs in the dark network, the pioneering technology known as blockchain has been adopted by many conventional companies, from banks to companies shipping companies
These companies are betting that the ledger distributed systems, which allow all network participants to see each transaction, will help improve efficiency and solve difficult problems such as tracking food through a supply chain.
Not everything is good for bitcoin
Bitcoin can not be widely used to buy goods and services; Many say they now see it as a way to store value. But companies like Overstock, led by Patrick Byrne, a long-term bitcoin enthusiast, allow customers to use the cryptocurrency to make purchases.
However, this year has not been good for bitcoins. In September, China said it would crack down on digital currencies, sparking concern that the world's largest market may be off limits.
And the disagreements between the bitcoin developers have risked a new "bifurcation" in the cryptocurrency, creating resentment in the close community union.
– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017