Are we living in a video game? Quartz writes:
Digital currency bitcoin continues its remarkable and somewhat inexplicable run. It’s up 152% this month, and today the total value of all outstanding bitcoins topped $1 billion for the first time before settling back down.
That’s quite a milestone, considering bitcoin isn’t backed by any real asset or faith in any government. What makes bitcoin so maddening to explain—no, there’s no central bank; yes, it really is just a bunch of people creating money out of thin air—is precisely what makes it so powerful.
The estimated margin on “mining,” or creating, new bitcoins has already recovered from December, when the rate at which new bitcoins could be minted was cut in half, part of the currency’s intentionally deflationary design. Anyone, from hobbyists to bankers to thieves, can mine bitcoins, which requires raw computing power dedicated to solving cryptographic puzzles.