The price of Bitcoin has been rising, and recently hit a high above $2,000. Like gold, the price of Bitcoin has always been driven by the scarcity of the digital tokens. When Bitcoin was created in 2009, it was determined that only 21 million coins would ever be created.
Technology investors have purchased coins and pushed up the price out of a belief that the tokens and the system will be a sort of global digital currency and financial network for the future.
While real-world transactions have been slow to take off, Bitcoin has continued to be popular for black market uses like ransomware and online drug markets like the Silk Road and its successors.
The corporate world has also taken interest in the technology that enables Bitcoin, especially its decentralized financial network and the blockchain, the global ledger where all Bitcoin transactions are recorded. Many banks are making big bets that real-world financial transactions will one day be run on networks similar to Bitcoin, which can operate more quickly, efficiently and securely than traditional financial networks.
There are now many competitors to Bitcoin, like Ethereum, and their value has also been pushed up by growing interest in the Bitcoin technology. But Bitcoin has remained the largest so-called cryptocurrency and is generally the one that people use to buy and sell other cryptocurrencies.