Bitcoin soars to over $51,000. What’s going on? We answer your questions |

–Are there alternatives to bitcoin?

Bitcoin is far from the only cryptocurrency. There are literally thousands of them. Bitcoin, however, is the best capitalized with a current market cap of $925 billion. Among the other popular virtual currencies are Ether, Litecoin, and Monero.

Ether in particular has also seen a huge surge in it’s price, rising from about $260 last February to an all-time high of nearly $1,800 this week. Lowry points out that Ether additionally can be used by businesses to execute contracts.

Some crytocurrencies are extremely limited in their business applications. One that circulated a few years ago, could only be used to make payments to dentists.

“Each coin has its own following,” said Seward. “Bitcoin maximalists, for example, believe in bitcoin and only bitcoin.”

–Like, what is Dogecoin?

Another crypto, Dogecoin was based on a popular meme. It was created in 2013 as a joke that made fun of the rise of cryptocurrencies. (Though it was trading for about a nickel per Dogecoin, its total market cap on Tuesday was a very real $6.6 billion.)

Dogecoin began its recent spike to a rich 8 cents on Feb. 4 after Elon Musk issued a series of cryptic tweets, cheekily calling it “The Future Currency of Earth.” Rapper Snoop Dogg and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons also chimed in and helped drive up the value. Dogecoin collapsed back to 5 cents after the celebrities stopped tweeting about it.