Bitcoin goes big: Wall Street, Silicon Valley aboard

A terminal to accept payments using bitcoins on a bar in Sydney, Australia.
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Scoff if you like but bitcoin, despite its myriad defects and detractors, is getting an increasing level of focus in high finance.

Just a few recent examples:

Reports surfaced this week that JPMorgan Chase has been pursuing the development of a cryptocurrency for at least 14 years.

In a recent analysis for clients, Bank of America Merrill Lynch called bitcoin a potential "major means of payment for e-commerce and may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers."

And Fidelity is now reportedly allowing clients to put bitcoins in their 401(k) plans, adding a little risk to the retirement picture, according to financial website MarketWatch.