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Bitcoin: The New Gold Rush?

 

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The Bitcoin frenzy seems to have reached new heights lately, spurred by a growing user base, price volatility, and the rapidly evolving network of Bitcoin-related companies.1

Reports of big investments in "mining" equipment and the expanding ecosystem supporting the protocol remind us in many ways of a gold rush — an analogy made easier by Bitcoin's other similarities to the precious metal. It's hard to say whether this excitement is warranted, but it's equally hard to deny Bitcoin's increasing relevance to businesses and the broader economy.

Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, may have implications not only for the technology industry, where much of the current action is concentrated, but also other industries from retail businesses to financial services.

Read this paper or view our infographic to learn about Bitcoin in the context of the financial services industry, particularly payments and banks. What is it about this cryptocurrency that is inspiring such attention and what might the future of cryptocurrencies mean for traditional financial services?

1Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone, "The Bitcoin-Mining Arms Race Heats Up," Bloomberg BusinessWeek, January 9, 2014, http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-09/bitcoin-mining-chips-gear-computing-groups-competition-heats-up.

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