By Brian Laverdure
 
The payments industry is abuzz with excitement as one topic continues capturing headlines, with profound implications for community banks: Bitcoin.
 
As the original digital currency, Bitcoin has steadily climbed from obscurity to reach a total market capitalization of over $1 trillion. The lofty valuations, however, often come with precipitous declines—it is not uncommon for Bitcoin’s value to rapidly plummet in a matter of hours.
 
With digital currencies reshaping the U.S. payments system that community banks and their customers depend on, what exactly is Bitcoin and where did it come from?