New kids on the blockchain: A surge in the value of crypto-currencies provokes alarm

New kids on the blockchain: bitcoin is far from the only game in town (by me)

  • It helps to keep this image in mind when considering one of the biggest surges in asset values of recent years: the market value of all the world’s crypto-currencies has trebled since the beginning of the year, and is now worth more than $60bn (see chart).
  • But growing demand has pushed bitcoin’s price to a record recent high of about $1,830, up from $450 a year ago.
  • Other factors driving demand include fluctuations of China’s yuan, the French elections and, in a small way, the ransomware attack (when The Economist went to press, only about $80,000 had been sent to the bitcoin accounts held by the bitcoin’s biggest weakness—the system’s limited capacity—has also increased demand for crypto-currencies.
  • Even before worries surfaced that the currency could split in two over the disagreement, bitcoin holders started to diversify into some of the many other crypto-currencies, or “alt.coins”, to emerge in recent years.
  • And the price surges have shown how the crypto-currency system is no longer just about bitcoin.

IT IS hard to predict when bubbles will pop, in particular when they are nested within each other.

@EconoScribe: New kids on the blockchain: bitcoin is far from the only game in town (by me)

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New kids on the blockchain: A surge in the value of crypto-currencies provokes alarm