Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Illustration/Benoit Tessier
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Bitcoin and other "cryptocurrencies" are big money, virtually as big as Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Scotland combined.At the start of 2017, the total value – or market cap – of all cryptocurrencies in existence was about $17.5 billion, with bitcoin making up almost 90 percent of that, according to industry data firm CoinMarketCap.It is now around $120 billion – around the same value as Goldman and RBS together – and bitcoin makes up only 46 percent.Bitcoin Cash, a clone of bitcoin that was split off from the original last week by a rival group of developers, was valued at more than $12 billion less than 24 hours after it had started trading.That's partly down to investor sentiment, but also because the startups issuing new coins in ICOs generally collect money in a more liquid cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin or, more commonly, Ethereum's ether – the second-biggest cryptocurrency in total value.Bitcoin, which was launched in 2009, was the first successful cryptocurrency and is still easily the biggest, with a market cap of over $54 billion.
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