In 2009, a mysterious computer programmer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto created a new digital currency called Bitcoin. Five years later, the cryptocurrency has catapulted to the world's main stage. But what's behind Bitcoin's exploding popularity? Does it stand to completely redefine money as we know it, or will it be undone by controversy before it ever has the chance?
In 2010, a bitcoin was valued at less than $1. Last December, the price for a single bitcoin soared to more than $1,100. Consequently, Bitcoin has piqued the interest of some of Wall Street's most prominent investors, with venture capitalists pouring more than $98 million into cryptocurrency startup companies to date.
But while the Bitcoin market is growing more popular in the mainstream and as more bitcoin business are founded each day, the virtual currency now faces some serious hurdles that could jeopardize its long-term viability. Federal agencies have grown concerned over Bitcoin's role in facilitating illegal purchases through a number of online black market websites, including Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI last October.
Even more disconcerting, a coding error known as a “transaction malleability” has allowed thieves to steal hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of bitcoins in recent months, and because the industry has little oversight or regulation, little can be done to bring the perpetrators to justice.
As politicians in Washington and throughout the world consider ways to better regulate the industry, Elite Daily sat down with some of the foremost experts on Bitcoin to discuss the currency's rise to prominence and whether it's a short-term fad or something with the potential to revolutionize the global financial market as we know it.
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