Kristoffer Koch of Norway spent $27 on 5,000 Bitcoins in 2009 as research for a paper he was writing about data encryption. He turned in the paper and promptly forgot about the purchase. Four years later, Koch noticed Bitcoin making headlines as it peaked at $266 per Bitcoin. He logged in to his Bitcoin wallet and his life changed in an instant. His small, academically motivated purchase was now worth $886,000, for a beautiful 3.28 million percent return on investment.
“It said I had 5,000 bitcoins in there,” Koch said. “Measuring that in today’s rates it’s about NOK5m,” or $886,000. He immediately cashed in a quarter of the dividends to purchase a swanky apartment in a wealthy neighborhood of Oslo. What he has done or will do with the rest of his accidental small fortune is unknown.
Koch is most certainly not alone in his luck. Since its genesis in 2008, the decentralized digital currency has seen two peak periods that skyrocketed its value from $2 to $30 in 2011, dipped it down to $13, and then launched it into outer space to $266 by April of this year. Soon after, the Bitcoin-accepting large-scale illegal drug distributor Silk Road got busted and shut down by law enforcement, sending the digital currency into some wild fluctuations. It now sits at $208.20 according to exchanger Mt. Gox.
Bitcoin has been the center of a variety of spectacular dramas in the public sphere. This year alone it has been associated with piracy websites, mining scandals, security issues and Bitcoin thefts, in addition to the Silk Road PR disaster.
But despite these Wild Wild West early days of Bitcoin, it is starting to show some promise in the legitimate world of commerce. In May PayPal started considering accepting it as payments. In August a federal judge ruled Bitcoin to be a real currency and it got its own Bloomberg ticker. It’s now even being accepted as payment at online stores, fashion stores, and pubs, and there’s even a physical “Bitcoin ATM” in place in Vancouver.
SOURCE: The Guardian