In 2009, the financial world was in full meltdown.
Ironically, weeks before the S&P 500 bottomed at 666, the genesis for one of the biggest current trends in tech and finance kicked off.
Computer Whiz Reveals His Secret $1.8 Million Crypto Script
It happened when the first block of bitcoin, called the genesis block, was issued by its elusive inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.
Months earlier, Nakamoto wrote a paper describing how a new digital currency could be used as a replacement for traditional currency. The catalyst for the innovative idea was the obvious failure of our centralized current monetary system.
The financial crisis had inspired a technological alternative that could function like currency without the need for a central authority.
With Nakamoto’s bitcoin, the trust in a central authority would be replaced by strong encryption. It would be designed to accommodate a fixed maximum number of coins, preventing debasement.
A decentralized peer-to-peer network would contain an immutable ledger of every transaction to prevent double spending of coins.
That ledger is commonly called blockchain. The ledger consists of records called blocks, linked together cryptographically in a chain.
Almost no one knew what it meant back then, and many of us haven't fully grasped it now.
Yet investing in blockchain tech today will be like investing in internet stocks at the beginning of the tech boom.
The profits will be unbelievable!
Blockchain Tech Reaches Far Beyond Cryptocurrency
Today, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization of the top 100 cryptocurrencies is over half a trillion dollars.
In a way, these competing cryptocurrencies are a technology-enabled blast from the past. We haven’t always had a central bank in the United States. The Federal Reserve is barely over a century old. By the 20th century, we nationalized our currency -- although that wasn’t always the case.
During early decades in United States history, banks were free to issue their own competing currencies. They had to compete for customers by issuing quality money. Prices were stable and the U.S. economy boomed for decades.
Bitcoin is competing with not only fiat, but alternative cryptos. The common idea behind cryptocurrencies, however, remains the same. Just as an airplane -- whether it's the Wright Flyer or a Boeing 747 -- needs wings and an engine to stay aloft, all major cryptocurrencies rely on the blockchain idea to work.
That's the really big development behind crypto. And the basic blockchain technology can be extended much further than just currency -- with huge results.
In fact, the impact blockchain will have on our lives will one day be as big as the internet.
Blockchain Has Innumerable Applications
Emerging blockchain applications include securities exchanges, voting systems, cryptographically secure property registries, peer-to-peer insurance, supply chain management, smart contracts and anti-counterfeiting payment and remittance systems much cheaper than anything we use today.
Almost any process in which many parties need a common, trusted, transparent and auditable record could one day be improved with blockchain tech.
Right now most of the exciting blockchain technologies are still in private and venture capital stages. I recently visited a cryptocurrency conference to talk to and learn from many of these entrepreneurs.
There are very few available in publicly traded companies that are pure blockchain plays. Over time, I expect that will change.
In the meantime blue chip companies are looking to play the blockchain trend.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) for example, has exactly what I'm looking for in a big name blockchain play.
The company is currently working on an improved blockchain foundation based of the popular Ethereum blockchain.
Its IBM’s very own proprietary solution, called IBM Blockchain Platform. It's the first enterprise level toolset designed for building blockchain business applications.
Could Big Blue one day be called Big Blockchain?
The company is well on its way. IBM has a team of 1,500 employees working specifically on blockchain, and it has dedicated facilities to help coordinate the effort in New York state, North Carolina and Massachusetts.
If you're looking for a pure blockchain play look no further than this classic tech play.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Reckoning.