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When Bitcoin broke into public consciousness in 2013, it couldn’t have been sexier: a digital currency being used to buy everything from drugs to cupcakes. Bitcoin’s wild price ride — soaring up in late 2017 only to fall steadily back down this year — was also pretty exciting, even if the swings made its use as an everyday currency seem less plausible. Another aspect of Bitcoin that’s a bit less scintillating has generated almost as much enthusiasm: public online ledgers. Blockchain — the technology used for verifying and recording transactions that’s at the heart of Bitcoin — is seen as having the potential to reshape the global financial system and possibly other industries. Yet five years after Bitcoin’s emergence, blockchain remains more of a tantalizing concept than a tool that’s actually used — kind of like Bitcoin.

Analysis | Bitcoin and Blockchain

When Bitcoin broke into public consciousness in 2013, it couldn’t have been sexier: a digital currency being used to buy everything from drugs to cupcakes. Bitcoin’s wild price ride — soaring up in late 2017 only to fall steadily back down this year — was also pretty exciting, even if the swings made its use as an everyday currency seem less plausible. Another aspect of Bitcoin that’s a bit less scintillating has generated almost as much enthusiasm: public online ledgers. Blockchain — the techno

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