“Virtual currency” (and Bitcoin in particular) is receiving a lot of attention recently in some industry sectors. A virtual currency is a type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community. Virtual currency exhibits properties similar to physical currencies but allows for instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer of ownership however it does not have all the attributes of “real” currency or legal tender status.
Bitcoin is perhaps the best known example of virtual currency. Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto1, launched in 2009 and came to prominence in late 2013 when the price of a Bitcoin briefly soared to $1,230 from around $10 only 18 months previously. The Bitcoin system is an online payment system that uses cryptographic software to generate a digital currency and validate transactions using that currency.
Some of the less attractive characteristics of Bitcoin are discussed in the following UK article: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=390678&email_access=on
In Australia Bitcoin advocacy issues are managed by the industry association, http://www.bitcoin.asn.au