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On Tuesday evening, the value of one bitcoin shot above $10,000.
It has been a remarkable run for a currency that was only worth about $12 five years ago.
The run has been particularly remarkable because it’s still not clear what Bitcoin is useful for.

During its early years, the cryptocurrency garnered a lot of optimistic talk about how it would disrupt conventional payment networks like MasterCard or Western Union.

But almost nine years after Bitcoin was created, there’s little sign of it becoming a mainstream technology.

Few people own any bitcoins at all.

Even fewer use it as a daily payment technology.
Yet that hasn’t prevented the cryptocurrency’s value from zooming upward. One factor driving Bitcoin’s growth has been the emergence of a broader cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Bitcoin serves as the reserve currency for the Bitcoin economy in much the same way that the dollar serves as the main anchor currency for international trade.
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