The Internet has turned the worlds of retail, book publishing and finance upside down. Now the next chapter in the digital age is dawning - the era of the virtual currency Bitcoin. It's a revolution that could ultimately make banks superfluous.
Bitcoin is a currency based on blockchain technology. It no longer needs banks for money transfers, which it completes in fractions of a second. Blockchain is a kind of register on the Internet that records such things as money sums, securities or contracts. These data records are secure, because copies are distributed among thousands of computers worldwide, making it impossible to manipulate data without being detected. Supply chains for foodstuffs can be traced just as seamlessly as, for example, the exact origin of a single gemstone. Business transactions are handled quickly, cheaply and without intermediaries. Blockchain takes digitization to a new level, foreseeing a future in which the technology enables us to get by not just without banks, but also without notaries, brokers, identity papers and supervisory authorities. Is the blockchain poised to revolutionize our daily lives - and the way we do business?