This is a guest contribution by Eric Jackson. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact\u00a0Bill Beatty\u00a0for submission details. Thank you. The rise of cryptocurrency in 2018 warrants it the \u201cword of the year\u201d even if the connotation of the word is a bit...cryptic. Merriam-Webster defines \u2018cryptic\u2019 as \u201chaving or seeming to have a hidden or ambiguous meaning\u201d so it\u2019s no surprise that cryptocurrency comes from the same root word. Whether you\u2019re interested in cryptocurrency because of the mystery or the money, here\u2019s the past, present, and future of crypto from a finance perspective: \t We\u2019re going from boring to baffling The U.S., specifically the millennial generation, has an inherent distrust of traditional banking systems which is expected to continue. Can you blame them? They came of age during the 2008 financial crisis, so it only makes sense they seek a more transparent and honest system. Not only are the traditional banking systems boring and stodgy, but they\u2019re never open! Banks close at 5 p.m. and Wall Street closes at 4p.m. When can anyone have a good time? Crypto is like that friend that always wants to party\u2014except that friend is now on your computer screen, shaking up the status quo. Most of the digital world operates on a 24x7x365 schedule, so it only makes sense that digital currencies dance in the dark. Crypto never closes. This in itself is a revolution, and the innovators are not afraid to use it. One of the biggest benefits of cryptocurrency is its peer-to-peer networking structure, which cuts out the traditional institutions such as banks or money transfer companies (PayPal, Venmo, etc.). The by-product of no middle person is that transaction fees typically don\u2019t apply. If you\u2019re someone who has wanted to rebel against a system which takes a chunk of your transaction, you may start to understand the appeal of crypto. According to Bloomberg, a survey by venture capital firm Blockchain Capital found that about 30 percent of those in the 18-to-34 age range would rather own $1,000 worth of Bitcoin than $1,000 of government bonds or stocks. The current economic system may be boring, but the new paradigm has the potential to compete against the current currency (say that two times fast). Boring to baffling may not be a bad thing, but awareness of how quickly things can change is key. \t You can time hop your way to freedom Just as the internet gave us a sprawling international network that set information free, cryptocurrency is a vast economic system that sets money free. Cue En Vogue\u2019s Free Your Mind: Before you can invest in crypto, you\u2019ve gotta learn how to mine. In other words, to get started with crypto you\u2019ll want to obtain units to achieve early adopter status. Here\u2019s an analogy that may make more sense: As scary as it sounds, bitcoin is like a bubble (we\u2019re not saying it is). Stay with us here. The inside of a bubble is filled with air. People are \u201cinvesting\u201d vast sums of money into something that has no history of producing revenue, like air. But it\u2019s this air inside the bubble that can either 1) give you oxygen in the future when everyone runs out or 2) deflate and burst. The blockchain is essentially a system solving process, and when systems solve themselves, you can free up time! This mindset means that money can now expand in ways that are beyond the current concepts of time and technology. And it\u2019s this potential for the future of technology (coupled with time) giving it value now. Blockchain's secure, decentralized framework is why my virtual data room company recently developed a platform for financial reporting and conducting due diligence for Bitcoin holders. We want to bring the traditional practices of mainstream financial services to the cryptocurrency industry. Let\u2019s break this concept down further: Cryptocurrency is the Internet 2.0, which is regulated by time itself. If you\u2019ve read Tim Ferriss\u2019s \u201cThe 4-Hour Workweek\u201d this is simply taking one concept and applying it to another. If you\u2019re like most logical thinkers, how do you trust a currency that\u2019s not backed by anything? Or rather, how do you trust a currency that\u2019s backed by one of the most abstract concepts? This question is the biggest argument against cryptocurrency. On the other hand, the \u201cbacking\u201d of the American dollar isn\u2019t real either. The phenomenon of time and money intersecting with a future that\u2019s currently being co-created is mind-blowing. And no one knows for sure whether it\u2019s a blip on a screen or if it\u2019ll change the way people do business forever. \t Cryptocurrency will become legitimized within the financial world Not only will cryptocurrency become legitimized, some speculate that cryptocurrency can one day make the U.S. dollar obsolete. As The Onion reports, Bitcoin is on the path to functioning just like \u201creal people currency\u201d after a small concentration of people acquire the majority of it. We\u2019re kidding (well, sort of). The recent rise and fall of Bitcoin means that mainstream institutions are watching. But don\u2019t let that fool you: The old world is still chaining blockchain down. Here\u2019s why: Traditional debit or credit accounts are required to buy Bitcoin. So keep clinging to that old wallet before you kiss it goodbye. Crypto needs more mainstream love before the financial world says \u201chi.\u201d Will you welcome crypto with open arms, or turn it down with snide? Eric Jackson is the co-founder and CEO of CapLinked, a virtual data room platform for securely sharing corporate information and conducting due diligence online.