It isn't what it appears to be on the surface. It is next big breakthrough which humans have achieved after the internet. It is not money or any system of currency. Let's start from the beginning. Even before we discovered writing, we had already invented the concept of money. Just random stuff assigned some value. It started from pebbles, feathers, shells, nuts, precious metals and went all the way to paper and plastic. But what exactly is money?
Think about it for a while. You may think of the currency notes in your pocket, but if you think carefully, you will realize that they have value because we all have unanimously agreed to assign them that value, otherwise if you look at the currency notes, intrinsically they are just pieces of paper.
Let me throw another dimension to your concept of money. Money is a language that helps us communicate value. This value is the laying stone of expression and creation of relationships and bonds like companies, organizations, associations and other social constructs. So, the currency notes in our wallets or the numbers displayed our bank statements are essentially nothing but a human communication of value.
Let us now talk about bitcoin. Contrary to popular belief, bitcoin is not money and blockchain is not some currency system, or a product or a service. It is a platform of trust, and bitcoin is just one of its application wherein the idea of decentralization has been applied to our communication of value. So, bitcoin is essentially another leap from plastic and paper to network money, wherein we can now run currency as an application on a network which is completely decentralized (not controlled by any entity) like the internet itself.
This is the internet of money, and not money for the internet. Bitcoin does the same thing to the money what internet did to the communication. Internet caused communication to surpass all boundaries & sovereign institutions; it strengthened our idea of free speech. Imagine a concept of money, which is detached from all sovereign controls, institutions, governments and other influences. Of course, it is not possible for everyone to welcome this idea of network-based money with open arms. When the gold was replaced with silver and bronze for money, there was a lot of resistance. When these metals were replaced with paper notes, people had a lot of apprehensions. When these paper notes got replaced with plastic money, people were still uncomfortable.
Humanity is now standing on the verge of replacing this ancient system of communication of value into a global, borderless, decentralized and open form of programmable money with which we can build applications without any need for permissions from anyone. We have just started to unravel the surface. The interesting part is that this network money does not differentiate between people and machines. Yes, the bitcoin can be owned by machines and softwares and they can transact with each other, thus laying the foundation of smart systems. Bitcoin has the potential to unify systems of money for payment between individuals, companies, governments, in a way similar to how internet unified our systems of communications (short distance, long distance, photos, videos etc.). This system of blockchain can handle from a micro transaction to a penta transaction in almost no time from anywhere in the world without anyone's permission. Bitcoin is just one application of blockchain. There is a larger picture. The applications of this technology are overwhelming and that is the reason we are seeing the emergence of thousands of altcoins. Few will survive, a lot of them will die or phase out as was the case with companies during the dot-com bubble burst.
There is a lot of fear and apprehensions in the banking sector. The level of innovation in banking has been very low when compared with other domains, probably because of the fiduciary duty that exists in banking as they are controlling other people's money. This is one of the reasons why more two billion people are unbanked and about four billion people are underbanked. Bitcoin will cause these unbanked people to take a significant leap as they will never have to have a relationship with a bank. This money on the network will make them their own banker.
Billions of people who have been isolated from the financial system will get an opportunity to control and manage their money as opposed to corrupt banks and rogue governments (Zimbabwean people can explain this to you in details) that steal money from them. They will be able to transact with everyone in the world, can own title on their own property in a transferable digital token that is accepted and recognized everywhere. This control over their finance, which cannot be taken away by force will help them buy food, shelter, healthcare, education, sanitation because this is what common people do.
This system is in its nascent stage for most people to understand but the pace of innovation has been climbing the exponential curve. Think about the times when you had sent your first email and think about how you do it today. A lot of people stood up against the internet at that time saying that it was for terrorists, drug mafias, pornographers etc. as they are saying it for the blockchain. When 3 billion people were given access to the internet, they were not interested in those things. Look around you and see what internet has done for the humanity.
The internet of money is coming. It does not know who you are, but it will find you and give you your own power.