How businesses are trying to harness the “blockchain” tech behind Bitcoin and Ethereum—and why they can’t afford to ignore it. Everyone from Walmart to Wall Street is betting chris dixon bitcoin wallet the tech behind Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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2847441 0 15 0 6. 71525592 15 15 0 8. 47 0 0 0 13 6. 5 0 1 0 6. 2847441 1 16 1 7. Here’s how businesses are trying to harness it—and why they can’t afford to ignore it. Goldin is my Sherpa today, graciously attending, with utmost patience, to my every query.

57 in Ether, the cryptocurrency that fuels the Ethereum network. 00, as the program reminds me. But if I had tied those bits to some worthwhile business idea, petsdotcoin might have offered investors a radical new way to fund me, track their stake, and participate in a miniature, virtualized, in-app economy. In that respect, my funny-money vanity project is a tiny part of a movement of profound economic significance. In case you haven’t been keeping track, digital tokens are a new asset class, powered by cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

20 billion at the beginning of the year. Stox—a moment some saw as proof that ICO hype had reached peak zaniness. August 2nd on the Stox. The smart money is also playing in this pool. The topic is all the rage on Wall Street. But notably, the long-betting investors in this space see today’s numismatic delirium as a distraction. Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

I think this unfortunately overshadows the more important technology story. That story goes like this: Underneath the crypto-hysteria is a grand innovation in the humble realm of accounting. The most bullish acolytes of this electronic book-balancing breakthrough, Dixon included, hold that token-based projects will anchor the web’s next revolution, spawning crowdfunded businesses and services that deliver more value to their users while being less dependent on advertisers or rent-seeking middlemen. Incumbent businesses in countless industries, from finance to energy to health care to food, are peeling back the layers on this budding technology, seeing the potential to trim costs, share and secure information more efficiently, and unleash new products at unprecedented speed. And they’re doing so knowing that one day their survival may be at stake: Having witnessed what the advent of digital, cloud, and mobile did to laggard companies, no one wants to be the sucker left behind. The technology in question: that choreographic marvel called a blockchain. No term at present is more hyped, and more poorly understood.

A less cynical definition might go as follows: A blockchain is a kind of ledger, a table that businesses use to track credits and debits. But it’s not just any run-of-the-mill financial database. The system uses complex mathematical functions to arrive at a definitive record of who owns what, when. Properly applied, a blockchain can help assure data integrity, maintain auditable records, and even, in its latest iterations, render financial contracts into programmable software. It’s a ledger, but on the bleeding edge.