Looking at the negligible returns offered on cash investments, Edward Cunningham started searching for alternatives. Instead of going to the stock market or buying up gold bars, however, the 45-year-old from Sherborne in Dorset turned to the internet, and last September invested in the digital currency bitcoin. Since then his stake has more than doubled.
Bitcoin is a paperless, bankless, stateless currency which exists on computers, and carries with it a whiff of peril for investors. Cunningham admits to being nervous when he first signed up to trade in the currency, especially when he had to make his first deposit via a bank in Estonia. “It all turned out well and I bought my first coins for $225 each, well below today’s price of around $575,” he says.
The price of bitcoin has fluctuated wildly since it was launched in 2009. Six years ago, two pizzas were bought for 10,000 bitcoin. By 2013, each bitcoin peaked in value at $1,000.
Coupled with these enormous peaks and troughs have been hacking controversies. Earlier this month almost 120,000 bitcoin, worth around $78m, were stolen from Hong Kong-based Bitfinex, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, causing a 20% drop in the