Transformative technology? Asset bubble about to pop? Garden-variety fraud? Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have no shortage of fans and detractors, and there is no lack of opinions about how real the phenomenon is – but they have caught the world’s attention, at least for the moment. Bitcoin was invented by libertarians who wanted to circumvent governments and financial institutions by creating a currency that was anonymous and untraceable. But the speculative frenzy that surrounded it, of a kind once reserved for hot tech IPOs, took off in earnest in 2017: Bitcoin’s price shot up to more than $19,700 in December, then fell in January almost as steeply as it had risen. Bitcoin uses a technology called blockchain, a public digital ledger run by computers that promises to be both transparent and unhackable. Even bitcoin critics call blockchain an innovative technology that could have wide applications in many areas of the economy.read full report
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Are cryptocurrencies just another asset bubble?
Bitcoin is the oldest and best-known cryptocurrency. (Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images)