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Never mind bitcoins, watch the blockchain

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An ATM is seen inside Bitcoin Center New York City, located in the city's financial district, on July 28.   © Reuters

When the digital currency bitcoin surfaced in 2009, many viewed its technology with suspicion because of its potential to support illegal activities.

     Its pseudonymous nature and lack of a central issuing authority made it ideally suited for people who did not want their transactions traced. Drugs, weapons or worse could be traded on the Web with little fear of reprisal from law enforcement. Cryptocurrencies lived only online, shunned by banks and the institutions that lend our financial networks legitimacy.

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