"More currencies have been created in the last decade than at any other point in history. Many more: since its launch in January 2009, Bitcoin has been joined by over 1,500 cryptocurrencies, all of which are speculative and derive most of their value from a dream of what they might become. Whether they grow into a dominant, lasting market (at the time of writing, they’re collectively valued around $430 billion) or pop like a bubble, the significance of the recent mania for cryptocurrency resides not so much in prices as in the number of people that have been drawn into this new system. In other words, it’s more of a social revolution than a financial one. It’s also the most significant new online phenomenon since the rise of social networks, not least because it contains today’s mixed reality in a nutshell; it’s driven by greed, by fear of missing out, by an evangelical belief in technological progress as a way of improving society and by widespread mistrust of authority in various forms, whether it’s government-backed fiat, the banking system or skeptical financial experts. As such, cryptocurrency fits rather harmoniously into the popular mood of anti-establishmentarianism. One of its many unusual qualities is its popularity with both the hard left and hard right. What it promises – a new form of money – remains at heart a radical proposition."