Bitcoin: The Fastest Growing Currency in the World

Bitcoin: The Fastest Growing Currency in the World (image: zcopley - Flickr)

Bitcoin came out of relative internet obscurity to grow into a possible payments powerhouse within the space of around a month.

Its exponential growth certainly panicked some circles in the upper echelons of society as they scrambled to work out if it was worth their time investing their money into the lucrative currency.

At the same time payments providers were weighing up the uses of Bitcoin – a currency that they've been aware of since its implementation – and if there really was a market for people to be able to make payments with this now popular currency.

Retailers had a third angle on things, some allowing purchases to be made with Bitcoins if someone so wished to use them, but with many opting to ignore the phenomenon until it became something far more well established.

Well, that time may be soon upon us as last month Bitcoin traded $1 billion across all exchanges. In March only $60 million was traded.

That's an increase of 16 times within the space of one month, making it the fastest growing currency in the world.

It's worth putting this into perspective though as the global currency market peaked at $5 trillion a day in September 2012, while Bitcoin manages naught but a paltry $33 million.

If that wasn't enough Bitcoin madness for you, all the computing power used to mine the currency – which is created through networking a multitude of computers together solving cryptographic puzzles in hope of uncovering new Bitcoins – is more powerful than any supercomputer ever.

The highly-specialised computer network all work together to form what is essentially a supercomputer that's eight times more powerful than anything available anywhere else in the world.

Without getting too technical – which still means we'll be a little bit technical – it qualifies to be the worlds first exascale computer, meaning it can perform a quintillion floating point calculations per-second. That's something nobody dreamed possible until around 2020.

The significance of this?

Exascale computers are believed to be the key to everything, understanding how we could predict the future effects of climate change, even decoding the secrets behind making fusion reactions work.

It's a shame then that these computers can do no more than mine Bitcoins currently, but if Bitcoin never manages to make it as a virtual currency, it'll have at least brought with it the possibility of exascale computing before we ever imagined.

Still, if you want to see the data for yourself, a quick visit to Blockchain.info shows you all the hard facts as direct feeds from Bitcoin itself – so you're never left working off estimates.

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