By Andrew Nusca and David Meyer
April 18, 2018

Good morning. Fortune digital editor Andrew Nusca here, filling in for Alan.

Adam Ludwin, the CEO of a San Francisco blockchain services company called Chain, captured the finance world’s attention in 2017 when he wrote an open letter to Jamie Dimon. The JPMorgan Chase CEO had gone on a tirade about a certain well-known cryptocurrency—people who purchase Bitcoin are “stupid,” Dimon said at an industry conference, and governments will one day “crush” the stuff—and Ludwin was aghast. So he penned a 4,200-word explanation of what cryptocurrencies are and aren’t.

Cue the digital applause. Four months later (and one vow of silence broken), Dimon softened his stance.

But the movement to explain the value of Bitcoin and its underlying technology, the blockchain, to the world marches on. On Tuesday evening, Ludwin appeared at a Fortune Brainstorm Tech dinner in San Francisco to do just that. “Cryptocurrency represents the new Internet counterculture,” he told Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky, explaining how the decentralized nature of the asset class allows for “censorship resistance” and a radically different approach to building conventional software services. (Read our dispatch from the dinner here.)

Ludwin’s perspective is a far cry from the boom-bust price cycles that keep cryptocurrency in news headlines. But it is perhaps the most honest. As he describes it, cryptocurrency is a technology platform in search of a killer application—the opposite of what usually emerges from Silicon Valley. The best thing to do, then, is wait and see what society does with it. (And perhaps subscribe to The Ledger, Fortune’s forthcoming newsletter about the topic.) Because let’s be honest—no one knew quite what to do when the Internet was invented, either.

The news below.

Andrew Nusca


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