A peak value of $20,000 in late 2017 created huge interest in a new generation of investors
Gamblers attracted to the volatility of Bitcoin
Some claim cryptocurrencies are the biggest scam in history, others believe them to be the next generation of secure peer to peer lending that could change the way we do business.
One thing is clear, digital currencies have become an attractive option for speculators and long term investors looking to make some serious cash.
More than 1,500 different cryptocurrencies are in circulation, available to be purchased online in a similar fashion to the way stocks and shares are exchanged.
The value of coins is underpinned and secured by blockchain technology to ensure currency rates can’t be manipulated.
Although more than 100,000 venders now accept Bitcoin, the first and largest decentralised ledger currency, many view them more as commodities than currencies and are happy to buy and sell coins as their value rise and fall.
Interest reached a zenith in late 2017 when a run on Bitcoin saw the value of a single coin climb from $900 (Dh3,000) at the start of the year to $20,000 on December 18.
The surge drew in hundreds of thousands of new investors and although the price has since dipped to around $7,000 it remains an attractive proposition for some, but it can be a white knuckle ride.
The volatility of the currency makes it popular for gamblers willing to risk their savings, with the potential for huge returns, as well as gigantic losses.