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Bitcoin Surges Past $15,000 For First Time: Five Things You May Want To Know

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Bitcoin zoomed past $15,000 on Thursday, extending the virtual currency's mammoth surge this year and following an advance of more than 50 percent in just one week. It struck a record-high $15,075.02 at 3.35pm, according to Bloomberg. Bitcoin's supply is limited to 21 million - a number that is expected to be reached around the year 2140. So far, around 16.7 million bitcoins have been released into the system, with 12.5 new ones released roughly every 10 minutes via a process called "mining", in which a global network of computers competes to solve complex algorithms in reward for the new bitcoins. These mining computers require a vast amount of energy to run. Bitcoin's smallest unit is a Satoshi, named after the elusive creator of the cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto.

Five things that you should know about bitcoins, the world's most popular cryptocurrency:

1. Bitcoin has been breaking its records in quick succession one after the other. No sooner is a record is made than it is broken. The earlier thresholds of $10,000 and $ 11,000 have been breached in less than a week each.

2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday reiterated its concern of the future of bitcoins and uncertainty surrounding it. The RBI said it wanted to reinforce its previous message to "users, holders and traders of Virtual Currencies (VCs) including Bitcoins regarding the potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks associated in dealing with such VCs."

3. A few days ago, soon after the virtual currency had hit the ceiling of $11,000, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified that India doesn't consider the bitcoin 'as a legal currency as of now'. Bitcoin's meteoric ascent of over 10-fold from below $1,000 at the start of the year has drawn regulatory scrutiny around the world. Some high profile individuals such as Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz have said the cryptocurrency should be outlawed.

4.The market value of the bitcoin has soared from less than $1,000 at the start of the year. The virtual currency has reported more than 1300 per cent rise this year.

5. Bitcoin took 834 days to top $1,000 from the time that BitStamp started to track the price in August 2011. It was another 1,270 days to hit $2,000 on May 20, 2017. However, the price has surged in the later half of 2017, crossing successive $1,000 milestones with ever increasing speed on its march toward $10,000 .

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