What to Expect Next From Bitcoin

More stability is on the way, say experts, and the currency could also be a tool of free speech.

In this April 3, 2013 photo, Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, looks over bitcoin tokens at his shop in Sandy, Utah. Caldwell mints physical versions of bitcoins, cranking out homemade tokens with codes protected by tamper-proof holographic seals, a retro-futuristic kind of prepaid cash.

In this April 3, 2013 photo, Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, looks over bitcoin tokens at his shop in Sandy, Utah. Caldwell mints physical versions of bitcoins, cranking out homemade tokens with codes protected by tamper-proof holographic seals.

By SHARE

But "illegal" doesn't have to mean "bad," particularly in some foreign nations, says Grinberg.

"One example would be the provision of services that technically are illegal but that most people, or people in the U.S. would view as legitimate," says Grinberg.

[REGISTER: U.S. News to Host Cybersecurity Conference]

He uses the hypothetical example of people living in repressive countries that censor the Internet. Users could use bitcoin to anonymously pay for VPN or blogging services in order to access the Internet and communicate with less fear of being caught by the government.

In addition, bitcoin could become more attractive in finance circles for activities like arbitrage. Still, between day traders, criminals, subversive foreign bloggers and privacy fanatics, the population of people who prefer bitcoin is likely to remain small.