Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, encrypted, completely anonymous currency that first became available in early 2009. Use of Bitcoins allows online payments between two individuals or entities that have never met each other, and don't even have to know each other's names.
Trade in and use of Bitcoin was negligible until about two years ago, when a quick surge in Bitcoin's value to about $30 led to an equally quick crash. From that point until the current surge, Bitcoin traded at between $4 and $12.
Theft of Bitcoins due to server breaches have occurred before, in several cases to other online Bitcoin trading and storage services. In other instances, malware has been written to steal Bitcoins from infected computers.
Because of the nature of the currency, once a Bitcoin is stolen, it's nearly impossible to recover.
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