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Art by Sam Lessin.

Time to Pay Attention to Cryptocurrencies

Photo: Art by Sam Lessin.

In the last few weeks there have been massive runups in several cryptocurrencies. The market capitalization of Bitcoin has doubled since the start of the year to the equivalent of more than $30 billion. Currencies like Ethereum and Ripple are up even more sharply in the last two months. Ethereum is up 10 times to a capitalization of more than $10 billion and Ripple is up on the order of 40 times.

The blockchain, originally expressed in Bitcoin, is arguably the most disruptive social idea since the internet itself. But being a disruptive idea is not a guarantee of adoption or actual disruption. The jury has been out for the last several years on whether Bitcoin and its descendants would actually change the world—or remain some clever thinking with a niche audience and application.

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