Cryptocurrencies absolutely kicked butt last year, leaving traditional equities, like the stock market, eating their dust. At the very end of 2016, the aggregate value of every cryptocurrency combined was just $17.7 billion.

However, when the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31, 2017, the combined market cap of every virtual currency added together had jumped to about $613 billion, representing an impressive increase of more than 3,300%.

Comparatively, it would take the broad-based S&P 500 decades to deliver similar returns. What cryptocurrencies did for investors in 2017 might qualify as the greatest year ever for a single asset class.

To begin with, the proliferation of blockchain is perceived to have played a big role in the ascent of digital currencies. Blockchain is the digital, distributed, and decentralized ledger that underlies virtual currencies and is responsible for recording all transactions without the need for a financial intermediary, such as a bank.

It’s believed that blockchain could help solve three of the biggest issues with the way money is transmitted today. First, blockchain is decentralized, which means that information isn’t stored in a single data hub. Read more from fool.com…

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