With bitcoin in the media spotlight, everyone seems to have an opinion on the price. Few recognize the profound implications of decentralized money for the monetary system, society and government – not to mention the emerging business opportunities.

The timing could not be better for the inaugural conference of the newly-formed Bitcoin Foundation. Next month, several hundred people from around the world will converge on the San Jose Convention Center (in Silicon Valley, naturally). Billed as "The Future of Payments," the conference is attracting technologists, venture capitalists, bankers, traders, payments specialists, and financial regulators.

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