For most of its nine-year existence bitcoin was largely the domain of holders, a group of investors following a die-hard buy-and-hold approach. Last year things began changing. Fortunes were being made in bitcoin, proclaimed the media. It sparked a speculative scramble into bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. "Last year cryptocurrencies went mainstream, particularly in the second half," says Rohan Isaacs, technical practice head at Norton Rose Fulbright. Prices ran hard in 2017. Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency and the one that gave the world the tamper-proof digital public ledger blockchain, had its price driven from US$1,000 at the start of 2017 to $7,000 at the end of October and a high of $19,559 on December 17. It was a 1,856% price gain, enough to spark greed in the hearts of many with get-rich-quick ambitions.Other heavyweight cryptocurrencies also put on spectacular, greed-inspiring price performances, including the second-biggest by market value, ethereum, which rocketed 1...

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