As I write this, a single bitcoin is buying $US19.65. A year ago they were worth half a cent each, meaning that in the past 12 months their value has increased by 393,000% -- a result considerably beyond the 27% increase posted in the same period by the Brazilian real, otherwise the global financial system’s best performing currency. Bitcoins are, in short, and by a significant margin, the most valuable currency on the planet.

But, of course, this all depends upon what we mean by currency. Or, perhaps more importantly, what we mean by bitcoins.