The brutal truth about Bitcoin

Its value is volatile. Its users aren't as anonymous as they think. It might be a threat to the environment. And it could exacerbate inequality.

Bitcoin investors seem to think all you need to profit from an investment is to find someone willing to buy the asset at an even higher price. PHOTO: AFP

NYTIMES - Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has been on a wild ride since its creation in 2009. Earlier this year, the price of one bitcoin surged to over US$60,000, an eightfold increase in 12 months. Then it fell to half that value in just a few weeks. Values of other cryptocurrencies such as Dogecoin have risen and fallen even more sharply, often based just on Tesla chief executive Elon Musk's tweets.

Even after the recent fall in their prices, the total market value of all cryptocurrencies now exceeds US$1.5 trillion (S$1.99 trillion), a staggering amount for virtual objects that are nothing more than computer code.

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