Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking the Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's what New Zealand banks make of cryptocurrencies, and whether they're likely to go mainstream. Hosted by Frances Cook.
You could be forgiven for thinking cryptocurrencies, and particularly bitcoin, are the victims of overexcited hype. That people need to cool their jets.
You wouldn't be that wrong.
Through 2017 the price of bitcoin went up by more than 1000 per cent.
Bitcoin is of course just one type of cryptocurrency, but by the tail end of 2017 all the various cryptocurrencies together had a total market capitalisation of over NZ$400 billion.
Those are big numbers, and some people will be immediately suspecting we're in bubble territory. I certainly do.
But there are those who like the spicy side of investing, who aren't put off by all this.
There's certainly an argument that, behind the hype, this technology is going to change the way we do business.
If you try to trade bitcoin from New Zealand, though, you can run into difficulties. There's even talk of bank accounts being closed if you trade too much as banks are nervous about the link between cryptocurrencies and criminal activity.
If you've ever had a chance to take a peek at the dark web, where drugs and other nefarious things are sold, you'll know that people are indeed using bitcoin for these transactions.
So what do our big financial institutions make of all this, and what do they think is the future of cryptocurrency once the hype has died down?
I spoke to Reuben Tucker, ANZ's head of transaction banking for New Zealand and the Pacific, for the latest episode of the Cooking the Books podcast.
We talked about the difference between bitcoin and blockchain, how banks are already starting to use blockchain, and what the future is for cryptocurrencies.
For the interview, listen to the podcast.