THE initial price of bitcoin, set in 2010, was less than one US cent. On Nov 29, it crossed US$11,000.
Once seen as the province of nerds, libertarians and drug dealers, bitcoin today is drawing millions of dollars from hedge funds. The recent price surge may be a bubble. Or it could be a belated recognition by the broader financial community that so-called cryptocurrencies – digital forms of money – are going mainstream. It might be time to nail down what a bitcoin is, and why its price has been going through the roof.