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There will soon be thousands of crypto currencies to choose from, and some of them can’t even buy you drugs or weapons

Bitcoin is the world’s biggest cryptocurrency but there are now close to 800 digital currencies work around $96bn total. Photograph: Alamy

Last Sunday a message posted on message board 4Chan started the rumor that Vitalik Buterin, the founder of cryptocurrency Ethereum, had been killed in a car crash. News of the 23-year-old, Russian-born programmer’s demise 

 – but not before 20%, or roughly $4bn, had been wiped from Ethereum’s soaring market value.

The hoax not only drew attention to Ethereum, the second largest digital currency after bitcoin, which had seen its value rise fiftyfold since the start of the year to $300 a coin, but also to the booming market in other so-called cryptocurrencies that could now be on the cusp of mainstream financial credibility.

Last week Barclays’ CEO for personal and corporate banking, Ashok Vaswani, revealed the lender had opened discussions with UK regulators about adopting digital currencies.

“We have been talking to a couple of fintechs [financial technology companies]and have actually gone with the fintechs to the FCA [the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK regulator] to talk about how we could bring the equivalent of bitcoin, not necessarily bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies into play,” Vaswani toldCNBC at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Obviously [it’s] a new area, obviously an area we’ve got to be careful with. We are working our way through it.”

Vaswani’s comments came after several central banks from across Europe and Asia said they were looking into establishing digital-only currencies in addition to traditional denominations.

What are the advantages to bit coin(and other crypto-currencies) again? Most advocates have been pretty vague on this point. Other than money laundering and buying drugs of course.

One, if not the only, legitimate use I can see would be for foreign exchange purposes, bypassing the 2-3 % currency exchange fee charged by banks. This will only happen once the price of Bitcoins, Ethereum and Litecoins start to stabilize.

I can’t possibly see them as “currencies” with the current wild price swings.  Why would you use a commodity who value wildly changes daily in prices, as currency;  isn’t the point the point of currency, stability?