How Cyprus crisis has some thinking of Bitcoin

People gather in front of Laiki (Popula) Bank as the country's banks re-open following 12 days of closure on March 28, 2013 in Nicosia, Cyprus. Amid the banking crisis in Cyprus, an online-only currency called Bitcoin is getting new attention.

Amid the banking crisis in Cyprus, an online-only currency called Bitcoin is getting new attention. Some argue it could be used as a safe haven for people worried about having their deposits taxed in Cypriot banks. Evidence that people turned to Bitcoin amid the Cyprus mess is actually quite slim, although one company announced last week it wanted to create the first Bitcoin ATM in Cyprus.

And with the added attention comes increased scrutiny from regulators around the world. U.S. authorities have come out with some new guidelines, and that has rankled some Bitcoin advocates.

"It was very well designed, the technology makes it so that you don't need a central authority to check where transactions are going," says Adrianne Jeffries, who has been covering Bitcoin for The Verge.

But what exactly is Bitcoin?

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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