Despite headlines centered on challenges facing the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is still booming with some of the highest mining and transaction rates in its history.
The digital currency has yet to find the “killer app” that would make it an essential part of the average consumer’s Internet toolkit. Several bitcoin-related services shut down in recent months, some amid allegations of fraud, which only highlighted the continued risks that deals tied to the currency can pose for casual investors. As a result, some companies are building alternative networks based on the technology behind bitcoin.
The bitcoin network’s hash rate, which is a measurement of how much computing power being devoted to mining the currency, reached an all-time high in December. The month also had the week with the most bitcoin transactions of any seven-day period since bitcoin’s inception.
At present, bitcoin is trading roughly 35% higher against the dollar than at this point last year, at roughly $435 per bitcoin, though that is still far from its peak just over two years ago, when it briefly traded for more than $1,200 per coin. The currency fell from those highs after the collapse of troubled Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
And while in 2015 bitcoin became easier than ever to buy and sell, thanks to an expanding network of bitcoin ATMs, bitcoin exchanges, and peer-to-peer trades through services like the classified advertising site LocalBitcoins, the currency’s backers have yet to find a way to make it indispensable to the average Internet user.
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