bitcoins-660The world’s largest database of businesses dealing in Bitcoins has been built by a Nordic venture capital firm in an effort to shed light on a virtual currency which has seen its value rocket in the past year.

Creandum said the database contained more than 300 companies trading Bitcoins – ranging from exchanges to payment processors and gambling companies – and was intended to give entrepreneurs and investors an overview of companies with a significant role in the Bitcoin system.

Since Bitcoin’s launch in January 2009, the system has grown popular with people who lack confidence in the traditional banking system, though it has also aroused concerns it could be used for money laundering.

Creandum, which has invested in fast-growing Nordic tech firms such as online music streaming service Spotify and payment solutions firm iZettle, said it hoped to encourage Bitcoin enthusiasts to participate in the development of the currency.

“This year and next year the Bitcoin needs to prove itself as a payment mechanism, and it could go either way,” Creandum associate Joel Eriksson Enquist said.

“Our hope is that the database will work like Wikipedia, with more and more contributors and more comprehensive data,” he said of the open-source site which can be found at .

The Bitcoin has recently traded above $1,000, up from $10 at the start of last year and fuelling concerns of a bubble.

Creandum said it may take another three years before it is clear whether Bitcoin is a bubble, or whether this is “the beginning of a new world”.

In December, the digital currency was dealt a blow when the People’s Bank of China banned financial institutions, though not individuals, from trading in Bitcoins.

Creandum’s database lists 46 Bitcoin exchanges in North America, 24 in Europe and 21 in Asia. BTC China and Europe’s btc-e and Bitstamp are the biggest exchanges, with the three seeing 2.5 million Bitcoins traded on their platforms in the 30 days to January 9.

Source: Reuters