The price of a bitcoin surpassed the $50,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday, surging even higher on Wednesday.
The digital token’s surge — it broke through the $20,000 mark for the first time in mid-December and hit an all-time high of $52,340 on Wednesday — has renewed consumer interest in cryptocurrencies, with tokens like Ethereum and the infamous Dogecoin riding the wave of support.
With mainstream firms such as PayPal and JPMorgan also lending legitimacy to the cryptocurrency by investing it it and adding it to their platforms, industry experts say that this time bitcoin might be here to say.
Here’s what you need to know about bitcoin and how to get in on the action.
What is bitcoin?
At its most basic level, bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency. Invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto — a pseudonym for an unknown person or group of people — bitcoin’s appeal has long been its decentralized platform. That means that it’s not under the purview of any national government, and can be resistant to the effects inflation has on traditional currency.
Why is it valuable?
Unlike ordinary money, which can be printed by a country’s government, bitcoin can only be created by powerful computers through a process called “mining.” Because the creation of new bitcoin is complex and power-intensive, and because there is a hard cap — 21 million — on the amount of bitcoin that will ever exist, there