Following a huge (like, fucking huge) surge in the market, a single bitcoin is now worth a staggering $10,000 (£7,500) on cryptocurrency exchange CEX - giving it a market cap that's higher than IBM, McDonald's or Disney.

The digital currency has more than doubled in value since the beginning of October, nudging itself into the financial mainstream after a series of 'crypto' hedge fund launches.

To put it all into context, at the beginning of the year, a bitcoin was worth $1,000 - adding to the 120 percent gain in 2016. That figure then jumped to $8,000 (£6,000), only to reach $9,000 (£6,700) less than a week later.

After the surprising spike, many experts felt that bitcoin had climbed as high as it could, and warned of a potential crash. In fact, a market analyst at ETX Capital, Neil Wilson, said traditional bankers and investors were unlikely to touch it with a barge poll.

He said in The Metro: "Prices are in a bubble, for sure - people are buying for speculative (reasons) only and that is when you have to worry it's a proper unsustainable bubble. Trouble is guessing whether we are in the boom phase or have moved into the euphoria phase.

However, they were proven wrong when bitcoin smashed the $10k mark on Tuesday.

If you've been living under a rock for the last decade and have been blinking through those last few paragraphs wondering what the hell we're banging on about, bitcoin is a digital currency - or cryptocurrency, as it's called by those in the biz.

Created by Satoshi Nakamoto (although the true identity is not certain) in 2009, it began life as a video game currency, but within a couple of years became hugely successful. The number of accounts at Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading bitcoin and other digital currencies, has now almost tripled to 13 million in the past year, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

You may have heard dodgy things about the currency, but that's only because it used to be used to buy stuff on illegal marketplaces like Silk Road. No biggie. These days it's just a way of transferring money from one person to another for free, globally, using an encrypted, secure network.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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