Why Bitcoin Matters

By Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
 Editor’s note: Marc Andreessen’s venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has invested just under $50 million in Bitcoin-related start-ups. The firm is actively searching for more Bitcoin-based investment opportunities. He does not personally own more than a de minimis amount of Bitcoin.

A mysterious new technology emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, but actually the result of two decades of intense research and development by nearly anonymous researchers. Political idealists project visions of liberation and revolution onto its establishment elites heap contempt and scorn on it. On the other hand, technologists – nerds – are transfixed by it. They see within it enormous potential and spend their nights and weekends tinkering with it… Eventually mainstream products, companies, and industries emerge to commercialize it; its effects become profound; and later, many people wonder why its powerful promise wasn’t more obvious from the start.

What technology am I talking about? Personal computers in 1975, the Internet in 1993, and – I believe – Bitcoin in 2014. One can hardly accuse Bitcoin of being an uncovered topic, yet the gulf between what the press and many regular people believe Bitcoin is, and what a growing critical mass of technologists believe Bitcoin is, remains enormous. In this post, I will explain why Bitcoin has so many Silicon Valley programmers and entrepreneurs all lathered up, and what I think Bitcoin’s future potential is.

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