The value of virtual currencies was only a few cents in 2009, but has grown 15 times since the beginning of the year
Bitcoin’s price continued to surge on Thursday, Dec. 7, surpassing the $15,000 (over €12,700) threshold for the first time in history, thanks to a rise of more than 50% in a week. At the end of November, the virtual electronic currency was still trading at $10,000.
Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $15,075.02 in the early hours of Thursday morning, before moving back near the $15,000 threshold, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Bitcoin, which has no physical presence, was only worth a few cents when it launched in 2009 and relies on a peer-to-peer payment system based on so-called blockchain technology. It is not legal tender and is not governed by a central bank or government, but by a large number of internet users. More and more transactions (restaurants, real estate, etc.) accept cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin’s value exceeds Finland’s GDP
Interest in Bitcoin continues to grow. When it was created in 2009, its use was limited to a limited circle of enthusiasts. But individuals, especially investment funds, have been buying them in bulk since the start of the year. Result: The value of the cryptocurrency has increased 15 times since January.
The record competition is fueled by growing interest in major U.S. markets, some of which are gearing up to launch bitcoin futures contracts in December, allowing speculation about its evolution.
The total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies is now $256 billion. Bitcoin is worth more than many multinational corporations, like Coca-Cola, or the gross domestic product of a country like Finland.
‘Speculative bubble’ may ‘burst’
Many prominent economists, such as Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Jean Tirole, have denounced Bitcoin’s explosion in recent days, describing it as a “speculative bubble” that could “pop”. For their part, central bankers, masters of traditional currencies and guarantors of global financial stability, have issued multiplied warnings, such as the President of the Banque de France, François Villeroy de Garau, who argues that those people who invest in Bitcoin “do so at their own risk.”
The appeal of Bitcoin is that it is coveted by hackers. According to multiple media reports, the NiceHash platform just had $60 million worth of bitcoin stolen.