Bitcoin has come a long way since its early days, when it was rarely talked about beyond online forums or technology websites. Now it's pretty common to find big names talking about how the cryptocurrency could genuinely change the way we use money - at least, if you can get your paws on it.
A single bitcoin is currently worth an impressive £4472.98 ($5901.03), so even just having one could pay for a few small holidays. But if you need more convincing, billionaire investor Peter Thiel recently told CNBC: "I'm sceptical of most [cryptocurrencies]. I do think people are underestimating Bitcoin especially, because it's like a reserve form of money. It's like gold, and it's just a store of value."
That statement has been echoed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who reckons that Bitcoin is better than gold. He says it all comes down to the finite supply of bitcoins, with only 21 million in existence. As a result, it means that as the supply gradually runs out, the value skyrockets.
Steve Wozniak. Credit: PA
Speaking to CNBC, Wozniak said: "There is a certain finite amount of Bitcoin that can ever exist. Gold gets mined and mined and mined. Maybe there's a finite amount of gold in the world, but cryptocurrency is even more mathematical and regulated and nobody can change mathematics."
There are other financial pundits who claim that the value of Bitcoin could reach $10,000 within the next 10 months. That news would be devastating to the people who sold their bitcoins just after it was set up. The first person to actually pay for something with the digital currency was Laszlo Hanyecz from Jacksonville, Florida, who offered to hand over 10,000 bitcoins to whoever ordered him a couple of pizzas to his house.
Back then a single bitcoin was less than a cent. But can imagine how he's feeling now knowing that he could have had an absolute fortune, only to give it away for a pizza. Surely that will go down as the most expensive pizza in the history of mankind.
While the cryptocurrency has been heralded for taking the power away from banks, it's also reportedly attracted criminals to use it because of its power of anonymity. Three years ago, the University of Kentucky reported 'robust evidence that computer programming enthusiasts and illegal activity drive interest in Bitcoin, and find limited or no support for political and investment motives'.
We'll have to wait and see how the cryptocurrency plays out on the financial stage.
Featured Image Credit: PA