Can a small island reverse Bitcoin’s bad rep?

Bitcoin has an extremely bad reputation, but The Isle of Man thinks it can do something about it.

As BBC reports on Friday, the Isle of Man government believes a combination of regulation and encouragement can not only reverse Bitcoin's reputation, but also push it towards the mainstream.

The island, located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, is already a popular choice of headquarters for the e-gaming industry, mostly because of its low taxes and relaxed legislation.

Over the last 12 months the government has been working on incorporating Bitcoin into its anti-money-laundering laws.

"We also passed through parliament the Designated Businesses Bill, which treats digital currency exchanges the same as any other company holding value for a client in escrow [a form of safe keeping]," said Peter Greenhill, head of e-gaming in the department of economic development.

"Be that a bank, estate agent or accountant - those come under registration with the Financial Supervision Commission."

BitCoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically, which no one controls.

Bitcoins aren't printed, like dollars or euros – they're produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.

The currency got its bad reputation thanks to its ability to keep its users anonymous, which is why many use BitCoin for illegal activities, such as purchasing narcotics.

The bad reputation was additionally fuelled by the Japanese exchange MtGox, which went bankrupt in 2013 after a spate of hacking, which resulted in the theft of around 650,000 of the virtual coins.