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BitCoin isn't important because it's a currency, but rather because it's the first practical solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem. In layman's terms, it allows for "decentralized consensus".

Before now, most internet applications required there to be a central arbitrator to keep everyone coordinated. (Even so-called "decentralized" protocols would nonetheless nominate one of the peers to serve as a central coodinator. This is problematic when the central coordinator has an incentive to cheat and benefit themselves.) Going forward, we will see new versions of internet services that require no single entity to serve as a central arbitrator, but instead will use the network as a whole to keep things coordinated, even in an environment where some people have an incentive to cheat.

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