Bitcoin is growing up. The virtual currency that caught the public's attention last month when its value zoomed briefly past US$200 kicked off its first Silicon Valley conference Friday evening and shows no sign of losing momentum.
The event is small by Silicon Valley standards, with about 1,000 attendees expected and 19 exhibitors, but it's bustling with startups launching new exchanges, software developers looking to strengthen the Bitcoin network, and venture capitalists seeking places to invest.
There's now $45 million a day being traded on the Bitcoin network, or $16 billion a year, according Peter Vessenes, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, who talked at the start of the event in San Jose, California.
The volume of activity is accelerating, he said. There have been 18 million transactions in the four years since bitcoins were introduced, and the figure is expected to reach 20 million next month.