Cryptocurrencies have had an exceptional year, reaching a combined value of more than US$3 trillion (£2.2 trillion) for the first time in November.
The market seems to have benefited from the public having time on their hands during pandemic lockdowns. Also, large investment funds and banks have stepped in, not least with the recent launch of the first bitcoin-backed ETF – a listed fund that makes it easier for more investors to get exposure to this asset class.
Alongside this has been an explosive rise in the value of stablecoins like tether, USDC and Binance USD. Like other cryptocurrencies, stablecoins move around on the same online ledger technology known as blockchains.