Chances are, you’ve heard about bitcoin before. Since it first emerged as a primitive “cryptocurrency” six or seven years ago, it’s gone from a pretty fringe idea to one of the most talked about innovations in finance.

It’s entirely electronic. And at the same time, it’s truly supranational. It isn’t issued by a government. It can’t be printed (or created out of thin air electronically) to buy votes or fund wars.

In that sense, it occupies a slightly unusual place in the financial system. The fact that it’s electronic and non-physical puts it in one category… the fact that it’s designed to be strongly anti-authority and anti-control puts it in another. Never before have the two been put together.

It’s also something that’s been incredibly volatile in recent years. It’s made some people a fortune. It’s probably lost others an equally eye-watering sum. So it’s worth some of our time thinking about.

That’s why I’ve asked Charlie Morris and Nickolai Hubble – two of our newsletter editors and real experts in this sort of stuff – to write this special report on bitcoin, the blockchain and its place in the financial system.

So, I’ll hand you over to Nickolai and Charlie.

Nick O’Connor
Publisher, Capital & Conflict