Bitcoin has had a splendid year. Despite being an unstable facilitator of black-market transactions created by an anonymous hacker to skirt government control, consumers can’t get enough of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin news site CoinDesk released some impressive numbers on Bitcoin’s year-over-year growth, from June 2013 to June 2014.
In absolute terms, Bitcoin seems to be doing well:
- A rough measure of its total market worth (the capitalization of all Bitcoins in circulation) is up 800 percent, to $8.3 billion.
- A rough measure of the number of Bitcoin owners (wallets) is up 700 percent.
- Media attention, a rough measure of popularity and legitimacy, is up 300 percent (measured by mentions in Reuters, NYT, WSJ and a few other big outlets).
- There is a big venture capital interest in Bitcoin startups, with investments up to $240 million.
CoinDesk did gloss over some of the crippling downsides to Bitcoin. Massive thefts are a growing problem for Bitcoin, as is the spectre of government regulation around the world.
So, these numbers are in no way reflective of how well Bitcoin can function as a currency in the long term. They are, however, a good measure of its popularity, which is an optimistic sign for its future.