If you had invested $10,000 in bitcoin last year, you would now own $175,000 worth of the popular cryptocurrency. If you had invested the same amount back in January 2013, you would have $1.08m.
The rapid rise of bitcoin has made a lot of people very rich and has left plenty more scrambling to make their own fortune.
Here are some the strangest stories spawned by the cryptocurrency craze.
Virtual Currency Girls
Pop culture drives J-Pop, but nobody anticipated Kasotsuka Shojo, an eight-piece girl band that is using cryptocurrency to sell music.
Make no mistake; this isn’t some intricate use of blockchain technology, but a band singing about the internet’s new favourite thing. Each member has taken on the identity of one popular cryptocurrency – there’s bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and the rest – in order to promote the “wonderful technology that will shape the future,” according to lead singer Rara Naruse.
Like bitcoin, Kasotsuka Shojo, which translates as “Virtual Currency Girls”, has had its ups and downs. Bitcoin (Hinano Shirahama) recently went to war with bitcoin Cash (Naruse) for control of the band.
However, united in their fight against more traditional payment methods, the band hopes to make it big with hits such as “The Moon and Virtual Currencies and Me”.
Dogecoin: such growth. Much wow.
You may have missed the best part of the bitcoin boom, but there’s still plenty of time to invest your hard-earned money in meme culture’s answer to cryptocurrency.
Dogecoin, a virtual currency based around the hugely popular internet meme of a Shiba Inu speaking in broken English, is the next big thing. Originally created as a joke by internet entrepreneur Jackson Palmer, Dogecoin is the perfect example of just how obsessed we have become with cryptocurrencies. Made to mock the alternative currencies that hoped to compete with bitcoin, Dogecoin is now one of the biggest around. It’s market cap recently broke through $2bn as investors seek out the next crypto-trend.
Dogecoin isn’t the only currency doing well. There’s also Trumpcoins, Coinye West and Jesus Coin. Even a currency known as Useless Ethereum Tokens, which openly states that it is worthless, has a market cap of $280,000.
KFC’s bitcoin Bucket
Given a bitcoin transaction can take hours to be confirmed and comes with a hefty transaction fee, using bitcoin to buy chicken makes little sense. You will likely pay double the cost of your meal to make the payment, only to wait hours for the bitcoin to clear and your food to arrive.
However, few things bitcoin have made sense until now, so why would this be any different?
Keen to keep up with the latest trends, the Colonel offered up a limited edition Bitcoin Bucket, containing 10 pieces of chicken, fries, a medium side, gravy and two dips. All for a reasonable price of 20 CAD. Only you couldn’t actually buy the Bitcoin Bucket with Canadian dollars.
The high transaction fees didn’t deter hungry bitcoin investors. Why would it? They’re probably very, very rich. KFC saw the viral bargain bucket sell out. At present, we don’t know whether they will run the promotion again, but the fast food chain might be convinced by its bitcoin balance (once the payments clear)…
The bitcoin of burgers
Cryptocurrency is a big deal in the fast food world, it seems. KFC has hopped on the bitcoin bandwagon, while McDonald’s has been tipped to start accepting cryptocurrency payments by as early as 2019. However, Burger King isn’t just interested in accepting bitcoin. It wants to be bitcoin.
The burger chain announced back in August 2017 that it was launching its own cryptocurrency to power its loyalty scheme in Russia.
For every one ruble that a customer spends, they receive a Whoppercoin straight to their BK wallet. Once customers have amassed 1,700 Whoppercoins, they can swap their virtual currency for a whopper burger. Or, alternatively, they can sell and trade their burger-buying currency via the WavesGo platform.
Despite a strong start, the Whoppercoin fad died down fairly quickly. According to BitInfoCharts, the price of a Whoppercoin has fallen from $0.14 in September 2017 to less than $0.002 in January 2018.
Kitties as currency
Such is the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies that anything built on blockchain technology is instantly a big deal. Take, for example, CryptoKitties, a Ethereum-based game where players are paying $100,000 for, essentially, pictures of cats.
Blockchain is hard enough to get your head around, but I don’t know where to begin with CryptoKitties. They’re sort of like Pokémon cards that you can’t physically hold that can only be purchased with internet money. Users spend Ethereum in order to “breed” new kitties. Each kitty is unique and some devoted CryptoKitties players are willing to pay huge sums to own the best ones. The highest price paid currently stands at $117,700.
While a little bit weird, CryptoKitties is hugely popular. Over $12m has swapped wallets in kitty-sales. Likewise, the game is now reportedly responsible for 11 percent of all traffic on the Ethereum Blockchain according to Motherboard.
The $100m pizza
While bitcoin has made a lot of people extremely rich, the currency has also produced its fair share of horror stories. There’s that one guy that knows that he has $80m worth of bitcoin buried in landfill, but can’t afford to dig it up. The $100m pizza is another one of those stories that the bitcoin community loves to tell.
Back in May 2010, software developer Laszlo Hanyecz made the first ever real-world transaction using the cryptocurrency when he purchased two pizzas at a cost of 10,000 bitcoin. At the time, the coins were valued at around $40. However, bitcoin’s staggering growth means that those pizzas have ended up costing Hanyecz a fair bit more.
With one bitcoin valued at approximately $14,000 at the time of writing, those 10,000 bitcoins would be worth $140m today, or $70m per pizza.