Emerging out of the ashes of the financial crisis, Bitcoin was created as a bypass to the banks and government agencies mired in Wall Street’s greatest calamity in decades. At first, it was slow to break through, muddied by a slew of scandals: fraud, thefts and scams that turned away many and brought closer regulatory scrutiny. But once it burst into the mainstream, it proved to be the decade’s best-performing asset. The largest digital token, trading around $7,200, has posted gains of more than 9,000,000 per cent since July 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Bitcoin really captured that wild technology enthusiasm that ‘this time is different,’” said Peter Atwater, the president of Financial Insyghts and an adjunct professor at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.