Photo: Philippe Lopez Archives Agence France-Presse
The virtual currency bitcoin has seen its value multiplied by 10 in less than a year.
The virtual currency bitcoin has crossed Wednesday for the first time the $ 10,000 threshold after having seen its value multiplied by 10 in less than a year, arousing the interest of investors, but also the risk of bubble growing.
The bitcoin, which is bought and sold on specialized platforms on the internet, was worth 10 058 $ in early trade in Asia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. To 4: 30 p.m. Montréal time, it was 10 637 $.
In mid-October, the currency, crypto was trading still to $ 5000, which is less than half the value reached Wednesday. The recent surge is all the more spectacular as the bitcoin started the year around $1,000.
It was strongly stimulated in the last month, after the u.s. CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) Group, one of the most important operators in global market, announced in late October, the upcoming launch of futures contracts on bitcoins.
This announcement triggered a surge in its value, while the number of bitcoins that can be put into circulation is limited. Thus, the total capitalization of the cryptomonnaie amounted to approximately $ 180 billion, according to data from the site coinmarketcap.com which tracks the market capitalizations of cryptomonnaies.
For example, the Coca-Cola company is valued at $ 195 billion.
Without physical existence, bitcoin, which only worth a few pennies in 2009 at its launch, relies on a payment system for peer-to-peer based on a technology called the ” blockchain “, or ” chain of blocks “. It is trading on specific platforms on the internet and has no legal tender.
It is not governed by a central bank or a government, but by a broad community of internet users and accepted in a growing number of transactions (restaurants, real estate, etc).
Criticisms are heard
But this currency, crypto causes many criticisms, in particular financial institutions, such as banks or governments that cannot control it.
In mid-September, the ceos of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, had estimated that the bitcoin was a “scam” intended to ” implode “, while the boss of Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam, had recently said that it was ” the very definition of a bubble.”
The roller coaster of bitcoin are heightening the fear of a runaway speculative.
“It is a bubble and there is a lot of foam. It will be the biggest bubble of our lifetime, ” said Mike Novogratz, hedge fund manager, at a conference on the cryptomonnaie Tuesday in New York.
Stephen Innes, in the broker Oanda in Singapore, for its part, warned against the “numbers crazy” and added : “I am afraid that the retailers do not jump at the opportunity under the pretext that it will work forever. “
“We know that things are not that simple “, he noted.
China has banned in September the exchange of currencies cryptographic on the platforms of the country by ensuring want to counter the ” illegal activities “, but also contain potential risks to its financial system.
The ban on chinese was momentarily buffeted the market, but prices quickly resumed their relentless rise.
The power of the ” blockchain “
For its advocates, bitcoin offers an alternative to secure foreign currency traditional : the blockchain makes transactions that cannot be falsified, because, in order to modify information, there should be a change it simultaneously for all users.
This characteristic is of great interest to the banking sector, where the blockchain could open new horizons and simplify the transactions dematerialized and generate savings.
On Wall Street, the investment bank Goldman Sachs is also considering to speculate over for the account of its customers, had indicated to the AFP in early October, a source close to the folder. Its rival, JPMorgan Chase is also said to be “very open” to the currency’s cryptographic ” strictly controlled and regulated “.
“I think that one is always on a up trend strong,” said his side AFP, Kay Van-Petersen, a strategist at Saxo Bank in Singapore. It predicts as well that the bitcoin could be worth between 50 000 to 100 000 $ in 6 to 18 months.
While some analysts expect a turnaround in the course of the cryptomonnaie, his supporters say make a bet on the long term and consider the launch of CME as the next big test.
“If it survives the CME, there is no reason that it does not continue to increase,” said AFP Greg McKenna, chief strategist at AxiTrader.
The bitcoin in a few questions
How does the bitcoin ?
The bitcoin is a virtual currency independent of a bank or a government. It allows its users to spend almost anonymously. A bitcoin is created when a user “mine” by sharing the resources of the computer to validate the transactions of the other. The user receives the bitcoins in return. The bitcoin can also be bought and sold with u.s. dollars or other currencies.
How much is a bitcoin ?
The value of a bitcoin has risen from less than US $1,000 at the beginning of the year to nearly 11 000 $US on Wednesday, according to the website coindesk.com. The value of a bitcoin, however, can fluctuate greatly. Earlier this month, the value of bitcoin has plunged 22 % against the us dollar in just three days.
Why bitcoin is popular ?
The bitcoin is essentially a line of computer code that is validated numerically each time it passes from one user to another. The transactions can remain anonymous, which makes bitcoin very popular with libertariens, the lovers of technology, speculators, etc., and criminals.
Is it really anonymous ?
Up to a certain point only. Transactions and accounts can be tracked, but the identity of the owners of the accounts will remain secret. The investigators may, however, possibly identify when the virtual currency will be converted into real money.
Who uses bitcoin ?
Some companies have reacted to the media coverage by adopting the bitcoin. Overstock.com, for example, agrees to be paid in bitcoins, and the CME group announced in October its intention to create a futures market for bitcoin by the end of the year, if it can obtain the necessary permissions. The popularity of bitcoin is still low in comparison with that of the money and cards, and many individuals and businesses refuse to use it.
How to ensure the safety of the bitcoin ?
The network of bitcoin works by exploiting the greed of the people for the common good. A network of users with sophisticated referred to as “minors” and ” ensures the integrity of the system by contributing their computing power to a chain of blocks, or a collection of global real-time all transactions in bitcoins. This chain of blocks to prevent dishonest individuals from spending the same bitcoin twice, and the miners receive a bitcoin from time to time to reward their contribution. As long as the minor to ensure the integrity of the chain of blocks, any infringement should not occur.
Who invented the bitcoin ?
We do not know. The bitcoin was launched in 2009 by an individual or a group by the name ” Satoshi Nakamoto “. The bitcoin has then been adopted by a small group of enthusiasts. Nakamoto has disappeared from the map when the bitcoin began to attract the attention. Fans of the virtual currency ensures that this is without importance, since it is governed by its own internal logic. A contractor australian has claimed in the last year to be the inventor of bitcoin, but a few days later he announced “do not have the courage” to prove it.