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The cryptocurrency market has grown exponentially in 2021 and is now worth a staggering $2.0 trillion as it increasingly attracts interest from big names on Wall Street.
As digital currency exchange Coinbase prepares to list Tuesday in New York, here is the breakdown of the sector built from nothing in 12 years.
On October 31, 2008, in the wake of the financial crisis, one or more anonymous people, hidden behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, published the founding white paper of bitcoin.
The goal was to create a means of payment, the security of which would not be overseen by a central bank or financial organisations, but instead regulated by software with rules almost impossible to alter.
While anybody can "mine" for new bitcoins, to do so requires giant data centres -- leading to platforms such as Coinbase providing a way of trading in cryptocurrencies.
Banks and payment services such as Paypal allow transactions in certain digital currencies.
Almost 18.7 million bitcoins have been created since the first block of 50 in early 2009. A limit of 21 million bitcoins has been set by Nakamoto.
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Despite bitcoin's volatility and limitations as a means of payment, it is being seen as a store of value to rival and even one day potentially surpass gold as a haven investment in the face of high inflation for example.
In Nigeria, where the naira currency has shed 50 percent of its value against the dollar in recent years, it is claimed that a third of inhabitants have used cryptocurrencies.
After bitcoin's value crashed in 2018 it rebounded, and has smashed records since late last year -- rocketing from around $12,000 in October to more than $60,000 a month ago.
Against this backdrop, central banks and market regulators warn about the volatility's impact -- especially on small investors who risk suffering big losses.
But it is clear that some individuals and companies have made huge gains from bitcoin, while major central banks are working on their own potential digital-currency projects.
Electric car giant Tesla has invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin and in March began accepting the currency as payment.
Tesla's multi-billionaire chief executive Elon Musk has used social media to espouse the merits of cryptocurrencies, helping to lift interest and prices.
Numerous cryptocurrencies seek to compete with, or complement, bitcoin. Number two in the market is ethereum, which this week hit an all-time high above $2,000.
The cryptocurrency market as a whole is worth more than $2.0 trillion, according to specialist site Coinmarketcap, which lists more than 9,000 different cryptocurrencies.
Some are known as "stablecoins" as their value is tied to a traditional asset such as the dollar, helping to avoid the volatility shown by bitcoin.
Meanwhile with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies minted by solving puzzles using powerful computers that consume enormous amounts of electricity, environmental concerns cast a further shadow.
Bitcoin passed the $60,000 mark for the first time on Saturday, with analysts saying the giant US stimulus package helped boost the world’s most popular virtual currency on its record-breaking run.
Bitcoin recently exceeded the $23,000 mark – an all-time high – which has set the global investment community buzzing. Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization,
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy has grown a huge market for cryptocurrency trade, however, the central bank claims it is not regulated or an accepted legal tender.
The UAE-Israel Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed on May 31, 2022, will come into effect on April 1, 2023.
In line with the keenness of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to enhance cooperation with international companies and exchange best international experiences
Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, stated that the UAE leadership believes