Gold is down nearly 10 percent, major U.S. stock indexes are roughly flat and energy commodities have nearly all fallen more than 30 percent: It's been a tough year for investors. And while individual stocks have seen big pops on headlines, perhaps the best performing non-equity asset of the year is a favorite among crypto-anarchists.
Bitcoin, the digital currency heralded as a potential successor to the global monetary system, is up about 37 percent against the U.S. dollar since the beginning of the year. The cryptocurrency went for about $313 at the beginning of the year, according to CoinDesk's composite price index, and is now changing hands at around $430.
Those huge gains come after starting the year on rocky footing: Bitcoin dipped to below $175 in mid-January. But after a few false starts, the digital currency has been largely gaining ground since the beginning of October.
(One of the few investment options with a comparable 2015 return is Argentina's benchmark Merval — up about 40 percent on the year. Although U.S. investors playing the Global X Argentina ETF would be disappointed by the fund's slight loss in 2015.)