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Published by:
IBS Center for Management Research (2019)
15 pages
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The case discusses the emergence of bitcoin as the leading cryptocurrency and its future course. Created in 2008 by pseudonymous computer programmer Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin evolved into a popular virtual currency used by millions of users globally to carry out secure, transparent, anonymous border-free transactions at a minimal fee. The bitcoin model was based on a global peer-to-peer network, and was fully decentralized, offering easy payments with a minimum transaction fee, counterfeit proof transactions, hassle-free fundraising, and speculative gains. By end of 2017, bitcoin's market capitalization was around USD278 billion. Despite being considered a disruptive innovation by some experts, there were severe challenges bitcoin had to grapple with. The biggest downside to it was that it was highly volatile. The exchange rate for Bitcoins was constantly fluctuating because it was a decentralized, relatively new currency. Further, bitcoin transactions were slow and were also being used to finance illegal activities. Moreover, the miners of bitcoins were consuming huge computational power and energy, impacting the environment negatively. Unlike traditional currencies, there was a limited supply of these cryptocurrencies, and with the high energy cost and expensive hardware required to earn bitcoin, its future remained in question. While some analysts were optimistic about the future of bitcoin and its gaining the status of a mainstream currency, others felt that bitcoin was a bubble waiting to burst in the future.

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This item is suitable for postgraduate courses.


Bitcoin; Cryptocurrency; Blockchain; Disruptive innovation; Business model; Digital currency; Payment technology


The events covered by this item took place in 2008-2018.

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