Bitcoins were all the rage in 2013. The virtual currency was worth about $13 per unit in January, before a media frenzy whipped up demand and drove Bitcoin values past $1,200 in November. The currency for people who don't like dollars is proving something here, inspiring JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) to research its own alternative to Bitcoin.

But wait a second before you load up your retirement portfolio with Bitcoins. The value of a Bitcoin turned out to be volatile in both directions. In the video below, Fool analyst Anders Bylund explains why you might want to play around with some fraction of a Bitcoin but should treat the virtual currency as a plaything and not an investment. Be careful out there.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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