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Is bitcoin the ‘mother of all bubbles’ or a niche investment? Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Bitcoin: after 10 wild years, what next for cryptocurrencies?

From next to no value in 2009, it rose to $20,000 and crashed back to $3,000 within a decade

WT24 Desk

Two years after its inception, 10,000 bitcoin was just about enough to buy a couple of takeaway pizzas. Today those bitcoin would be worth nearly $38m (£30m). That is a huge increase, but just a fraction of their $180m value only 13 months ago, because since its creation a decade ago this week, the digital currency has been at the centre of one of the biggest economic bubbles in history, The Guardian reports.

Bitcoin has had a wild ride since its birth on 3 January 2009. Created as a digital currency to sidestep the traditional finance industry using encrypted code, it took until May 2010 for the first reported purchase using bitcoin to take place: those two large Papa John’s pizzas worth $30 for 10,000 bitcoins.

But in recent years bitcoin has become less useful as a medium of exchange and more famous for its boom-bust tendencies – drawing parallels to the Dutch tulip mania of 1637 and Dante’s Inferno for its ability to lose investors millions of pounds.

It surged by more than 1,000%, sometimes gaining $2,500 in a single day, to stand at almost $20,000 just before Christmas 2017. But the digital currency then crumpled over the course of last year, and yesterday stood at just $3,780, having wiped out many investments on the way down.

Nouriel Roubini, one of the few economists to predict the 2008 financial crash and a former White House economic adviser is one of Bitcoin’s most vocal critics. He has called it the “mother of all bubbles” and tweeted last month that it,and other crypto copycats like Ethereum and Litecoin, should be ranked in a “2018 Shitcoin Hall/Pile of Manure Shame”.

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