Recent cyber-attacks have followed an all too familiar pattern: targeting unpatched operating systems of large businesses or government institutions, then demanding ransoms paid in Bitcoin. Those who weren’t already aware of Bitcoin certainly are now.
Whilst the abuse of Bitcoin by anonymous criminals may sully its reputation amongst the population at large, its rapid growth as a medium of exchange amongst more sophisticated internet users continues unabated. Current estimates put the total value of the Bitcoin market at over $20 billion (having had almost nil value when it started trading in 2009), with the crypto-currency market as a whole being worth up to $50 billion. Indeed, this growth is expected to rise exponentially when Bitcoin becomes regulated in Japan later this year, giving users far more certainty and, crucially, confidence.
The UK is behind the curve in some respects, with less than 2% of Bitcoin exchanges being made into Pounds Sterling. However, Bitcoin is now accepted in some shops and bars in the UK and many online merchants expect payment to be made that way.
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