The Indicator from Planet Money : NPR

ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images

(Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, February 16th, the price of one bitcoin climbed above 50 thousand dollars for the first time ever. A year earlier, Bitcoin was priced at less than 10 thousand dollars.

The rise was baffling. But then, Bitcoin has been baffling people since its inception 12 years ago. As a currency, Bitcoin is not backed by any government, or even any commodity. Its value derived entirely from the continued faith that people who own Bitcoin have in its future. With the sometimes fanatical devotion of its followers, its mysterious creator, its rituals and its holidays, Bitcoin looks a lot like a religion.

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