When Ohio announced in late November that it would begin accepting bitcoin as payment for business taxes, becoming the first state to do so, it struck many as an odd move. True, it was once common to call bitcoin “digital cash” and to tout its usefulness for payments. Having spent 2017 charting the cryptocurrency’s climb to $20,000 and this year watching its fall from orbit, though, many observers today hardly seem able to think of bitcoin as anything other than a speculative—and perhaps failing—asset.
This is a mistake. Look past the gold fever, with its stories of investors getting hilariously rich and not-so-hilariously “rekt,” and there are signs that bitcoin is quietly making inroads in the global economy, from ecommerce to remittances. Even as funding for new token projects declines and the speculative shine comes off the crypto apple, bitcoin, in important ways, looks more like money than ever.