File - A mock bitcoin is shown in this photo illustration in Sandy, Utah, in this September 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)
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Bitcoin, an experimental digital currency, has gained a toehold in the Middle East. Despite warnings issued by central banks in the region, two small businesses have begun accepting Bitcoin payments over the past two weeks. All Bitcoin transactions are logged on the Blockchain, a public ledger accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.Instead of relying on a central authority, peer-to-peer transactions are verified by individual users in the Bitcoin network called miners. According to Coindesk.com, a widely used Bitcoin site, one Bitcoin is worth approximately $620 . On average, the 80,000 Bitcoin transactions which occur daily are worth more than $100 million. In December 2013, the daily value of Bitcoin transactions briefly surpassed the value of Western Union transactions. In December 2013 the Lebanese Central Bank issued an official warning regarding Bitcoin.For small- and medium-sized businesses like Haque and Badawi's, however, Bitcoin's value fluctuations pose little threat.
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