The value of the famed digital currency has skyrocketed even as media attention increasingly turns to alternatives like Ethereum and to other uses for blockchain-powered networks, such as managing assets within big banks. Two possible explanations:
• The amount of bitcoin awarded to miners who record transactions to the blockchain is due to be cut in half in just over a month, reminding speculators of the limited number of bitcoin that will ever exist.
• Ransomware. Data-encrypting malware attacks are on the rise and hackers often demand that victims pay ransom in bitcoin, potentially driving up demand for the currency.