This Trippy Video Explains Bitcoin in Under 4 Minutes

The mysterious digital currency has spiked in value -- but what is it? 

Launched in 2009 by an anonymous developer, Bitcoin is an intriguing technological and financial experiment. Now it's making headlines, as Quartz reports, with a recent spike in value (approximately 1,300% since the beginning of the 2013). The Atlantic's Derek Thompson looked at the existential weirdness of Bitcoin, noting that starting your own currency is "not as complicated as it sounds. All you need is a system other people can understand and, most importantly, trust."

That may be easier said than done: Bitcoin is baffling but this video, above, tries its best to shed some light on the concept. Created by Duncan Elms, an animator, and Marc Fennell, a radio host and self-proclaimed tech geek, the short video describes the currency in a nutshell, from "mining" to currency exchanges, and how Bitcoin is poised to change the way we think about money. 

"This is a personal project done between other jobs," Elms writes on Vimeo, explaining that as a result, not all of the data is up to date. Still, it's a handy overview of how the system works. 

Via Vimeo Staff Picks. 

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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