Yet these new assets comprise just a fraction of the world’s multi-trillion currency market. And as a new asset with a smaller pool of investors, cryptocurrencies are subject to wild swings in value. In the last week alone, for instance, one bitcoin has ranged from a high of $4,463 to a low of $3,283.
It’s also largely unpredictable which digital currencies will have staying power. Like any new market — remember all those dot.com busts? — it can take years for a shakeout and for lawmakers and regulators to figure out their oversight approach. Already, the anonymity that comes with these digital transactions raises concerns of money laundering and the funding of illicit activities.
Another major difference is that bitcoin’s creation, value and integrity come from complicated, mathematical wizardry, known as “blockchain” technology, that regulates the creation of new units and ensures the security of every transaction involving the digital currency.
That’s where Samson comes in as a miner. Basically, new bitcoins come into circulation via these miners. (See chart below.) When 21 million units are reached, expected in 2040 or so, no more bitcoins will be created.