By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky
May 15, 2018

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I’m on a quest to understand cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and other of life’s imponderables. I plan to continue this journey until everyone else stops talking about them because 1) they crash, burn, and otherwise drift off into irrelevancy, or 2) become co-opted into topics like “currency” and “finance” and “software” and cease to be interesting in their own right. To wit, even though they have no idea how it works, no one struggles to grasp this electricity concept anymore. They just accept it.

I feel like I’ve made great strides in understanding all this. In fact, I felt downright smug while watching the episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley in which Pied Piper pursues an initial coin offering of its own cryptocurrency. (As of this writing I’m an episode behind; don’t ruin it for me, please.) I was pleased because I understood the jokes: the fictional recreation of the actual presentation by entrepreneur Wences Casares explaining the history of money; anarchist Gilfoyle’s fervor for a decentralized system that doesn’t rely on trust; the notion that an “ICO” might be a clever way around raising money from untrustworthy venture capitalists. (Watch this not-new video if you want to feel better for not comprehending Bitcoin.)

Understanding this stuff takes time. Fortunately, Fortune’s Robert Hackett is on the case for you. In a new post, he writes about two crypto-technologists who decamped from J.P. Morgan Chase—run by that avowed hater of Bitcoin—to start a new company called Clovyr.

Amber Baldet, the purple-haired co-founder of Clovyr, makes a valuable contribution to my understanding of how blockchains—alternative digital networks for tracking and storing assets—will work. Existing networks that are “public,” in the industry parlance, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are managed by no one single entity. Hybrid blockchains will take advantage of the virtues of the new technology while giving their organizers more control. It is similar, she says, to how private cloud networks for storing data rose up in response to the perceived insecurity of public clouds managed by Amazon and Microsoft.

Got it now? Me neither. At least not completely. Let’s keep at it together though. All the smart people say it’s important.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com

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