Bitcoin: Man Buys Flat With Forgotten Fortune

A Norwegian man who bought £15 worth of bitcoins and then forgot about them for four years has been able to buy a flat in Oslo thanks to the huge appreciation of the virtual currency.

Kristoffer Koch was doing research on encryption in 2009 when on a whim he decided to invest a small sum in the recently-created bitcoins.

[Bitcoin: The world’s most valuable currency - but what on earth is it?]

Mr Koch, now 29 and working as an engineer, only remembered the investment in April this year when he read an article about the soaring value of bitcoins.

His 5,000 bitcoins were suddenly worth around £430,000.

After spending a full day trying to remember his password, Mr Koch cashed in £116,000 by selling a fifth of his newly-acquired fortune.

[Is the Bitcoin the world's most perfect speculative material?]

After deducting 28% in taxes, the money was enough for the deposit and restoration of a flat in central Oslo, one of the world's most expensive cities.

"Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that they would have soared like this," Mr Koch said.

"It's bizarre. These psychological reflexes that make us attach a value to something that doesn't have any in itself."

[Bitcoin: the new gold or a giant bubble?]

Bitcoins can be exchanged for real money or used to purchase goods and services online.

The virtual currency is increasingly used for internet transactions and its value is extremely volatile, subject to speculation.

[Digital currencies 'a threat to current financial systems']

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