The technology behind bitcoin could be even more important than the cryptocurrency itself.
Most people think of bitcoin, if they think about it at all, as a currency - a means of digital exchange, or perhaps a speculative investment.
But forget everything you know, because the technology underlying bitcoin has the potential to be a much greater disruptive force than the cryptocurrency itself. Investors and technologists think the technology could replace huge aspects of the financial and insurance industries, and eventually even corporate management teams. In fact, big names like Google and IBM are reportedly already looking to invest in applications.
"Bitcoin is a token, a currency, but that's not all it is. That's the first of many many applications of this blockchain technology," said Jeff Garzik, one of five bitcoin core developers who have taken over maintenance of the technology from mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto. "[Currency] is not the killer app, it's just the first app."