Last year was a true coming-out party for virtual currencies. In just one year’s time, the combined market cap of all digital coins rocketed higher by nearly $600 billion, which works out to more than a 3,300% increase on a percentage basis.

It’s perhaps the greatest single-year performance we may ever witness for any asset class. Leading that charge was the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin.

Even though bitcoin “only” rose in value by 1,364% last year, which would appear subpar relative to its peers, it’s risen from less than $0.01 in March 2010 to a current value of more than $8,500 per coin. That’s not too shabby of a return in just a shade over eight years!

In fact, a $1,000 investment in March 2010, assuming you found someone willing to part with that many bitcoin back then, would have been worth billions of dollars today. A good number of cryptocurrency investors view bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology — the digital, distributed, and decentralized ledger responsible for recording transactions in a transparent and unchanging manner — as revolutionary.

After all, bitcoin was the very first digital currency to become investable back in 2010, and its blockchain offered a means of moving money from one party to another without using traditional banking networks. Bitcoin also derives value from the perception that it’s scarce. Read more from…

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