Bitcoin, released to the world in 2009 by a person or people called Satoshi Nakamoto, is not backed by a central bank or a government and is seen as an alternative payment system. In February 2013, Bitcoin went into the mainstream as a monetary crisis threatened to bankrupt Cyprus, seen as a safer bet. Early adopters of Bitcoin have been richly rewarded as the price has soared – in one case, a young Norwegian bought a house from an $850,000 windfall on a US$22 investment.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who is also chairman of the Financial Stability Board, in a file photo on March 2, 2018, issued a report saying bitcoin and other crypto assets did not pose a threat to the financial system for now but may one day do so. Photo: Bloomberg

Bitcoin and crypto assets may threaten financial system

The rapid evolution of crypto-assets such as Bitcoin may one day make them a threat to the financial system, Mark Carney, chairman of the Financial Stability Board, said in a letter to G20 finance leaders.