You can tell that cryptocurrency has hit the big time when world leaders are discussing it in speeches.
The Bitcoin creators could never have imagined that it would become so big when they first set it up as a digital alternative to traditional currency back in 2008.
Well, today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she was having a serious thought about whether to bring in new rules to regulate the sale and purchase of Bitcoin. But will Britain ban Bitcoin?
The markets for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are pretty changeable and even the idea that they might be regulated is usually enough to make them go into freefall.
One single Bitcoin is currently still worth £7,595 ($10,854), though, so it's not too bad if you own any of the coins.
Bitcoin Price Today. Credit: Bitcoin.com
There has been growing talk worldwide about regulating the markets, though, and this has led to two crashes across the different currencies, not just Bitcoin.
South Korea, which is a huge market for cryptocurrency, is banning anonymous trading bank accounts next week, and France has also talked about increasing regulations to stop the use of such currencies to fund terrorism and dodge tax.
Prime Minister May said: "Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, we should be looking at these very seriously, precisely because of the way that they can be used, particularly by criminals."
All of this talk suggests that perhaps the people who run the traditional financial markets are more than a little bit scared of the competition and are trying to rally their political chums to shut it down.
One analyst reckons that more rules could actually be of use to cryptocurrencies as it would validate them and make them legally as viable as normal currency.
Theresa May during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Credit: PA
Kevin Murcko, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange CoinMetro, said: "Regulation in the UK may not necessarily be a bad thing for the digital asset economy: government regulation is a legitimising force. New regulations would mean people would feel safer investing in cryptocurrencies, as fraudulent brokers will be excluded from the market.
"As different nations move to regulate cryptocurrencies in different ways, the short-term impact on the markets will be outweighed by the longer-term stability afforded by consumer protections and the elimination of fraudulent entities and practices.
"Compliance with an established regulatory framework, if done right, could lead to wider mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and greater stability in emerging markets.
"It is my firm belief that we should be welcoming regulation into the cryptocommunity, rather than rejecting it. This will help to spur on adoption among mainstream investors and the general public."
Featured Image Credit: PA