A cryptocurrency such as bitcoin can i invest in bitcoin through fidelity purely digital: it is a piece of code—a string of numbers and letters—that uses encryption techniques and a decentralized computer network to process transactions and generate new units. Its value derives entirely from people’s perception of what it is worth.

The same might be said of paper money, now divorced from gold and silver, or of gold and silver for that matter. Money is a human invention. It has value because we say it does. Three months later, when the first version of bitcoin software was released by Nakamoto and the inaugural bitcoins were traded, they were essentially free. By September 2010, a single bitcoin cost about six cents.

And while the price had its ups and downs, the overall trend was up, up, up. The higher the price, the greater the interest of investors and speculators, which propelled the price even higher. Because the software was programmed to issue a finite number of bitcoins—21 million—bitcoin’s spectacular trajectory seemed, and continues to seem, like a textbook case of supply and demand. How high will the price go? 18,000 look like a bargain, which, of course, is driving more investment.

JPMorgan Chase, who called bitcoin a fraud that will not end well for investors. For them, a cell phone can function as a bankbook, a debit card, and a way to send and receive payments. Abra as a payment system. It gets a little more complicated, though, if the recipient wants to convert the payment into physical cash. Consider the case of an unbanked Filipino woman who has received a remittance from her daughter in Canada. She checks the app and notices there are four other Abra users within a four-block radius of her.

She messages them all to see who will exchange her digital pesos for physical pesos and at what price. She then chooses the one with the highest customer satisfaction rating, though not the lowest bid, and meets him to make the exchange. My own cryptocurrency exchange experience was more mundane than that of the woman in the Philippines. I logged onto a website called Coinbase and created an account linked to my credit card. Coinbase gave me the option of buying three different digital currencies: bitcoin, ether, or litecoin. 50 I was willing to invest was more than ten times less than the cost of a single bitcoin even before Coinbase subtracted its service fee, I figured the fractional amount of bitcoin I’d be buying—something on the order of .