Bitcoin Prices Have Tripled in a Year and Just Hit a New All-Time High

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Over the past year, Bitcoin's price has gone up more than percent. It's a level of growth unheard of in traditional investing markets. Now, banks, governments, and everyday people are wondering if Bitcoin is the future of money, bitcoin hits record price for a single unit giant bubble ready to pop or something in between.

The digital currency bitcoin has now done something that would bitcoin hits record price for a single unit the biggest jumps in the stock market look like mere blips. It's a trend that is turning heads around the world. Banks, governments and everyday people are beginning to wonder how this relatively new technology could change the way that money works.

Nathaniel Popper is the author of "Digital Gold: Well, bitcoin - I think the thing that most people think of is it's this digital token that lives online that you can buy and sell. But bitcoin is also this computer network that bitcoin lives on.

And it's the computer network that I think makes this so unusual. It's a computer network that allows you to hold bitcoin outside the control of any company or government. Laughter Well, I think there is a degree to which this is just a speculative frenzy.

But I think there is a little bit more going on than that. And that is I think this budding view that this is a really new financial technology. You know, bitcoin itself - I think there's a view that it is a new kind of digital gold.

It's a scarce thing that you can own and hold online and, by the way, that's outside the control of any company or government. And so there are a certain number of people who are betting that this is the gold for the future. As you said, there are people who say this is just an investment frenzy.

A bubble, is what they would say. Let's say it is a bubble. Let's say it bursts. Who would be harmed by that - just the people who hold the bitcoins?

Are there funds that are investing in bitcoins? So a lot of bitcoin hits record price for a single unit think they have a lot of money on paper. And that's - those people are spread around the world in South Korea and China and Japan. Over the last year, hedge funds have gone into this in a big way and have been buying them up. It's not at the point where I think this would have an effect on the broader economy. But you know, it would cause a lot of pain for those people. Dollar deposits at the bank are insured up to a set limit by the FDIC - anything comparable to one's bitcoin account?

No, there - your - when your bitcoin are gone, they're gone. There's no getting them back. And the bitcoin hits record price for a single unit that do this - some of them try to offer insurance, but most of them haven't been able to get an insurer to work with them.

And that - you know, that's obviously part of the reason that it's so risky but also that it can move so much - is, you know, there's a sense that this is really new technology.

And so to make this kind of money, you've got to take risks. I think the price moves are in some degree in proportion to the risks involved here. Thanks for talking with us today. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player.

Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. November 27, 4: Heard on All Things Considered. Thank you so much for having me. And first briefly tell us. Since the beginning of the year, bitcoin's price has risen more than percent.

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It's markets are more volatile than average, and it's digital nature make money transfer simple. This happened in San Juan, Puert Rico, after she had left a dinner party.