The idea that cryptocurrency could change in a mere decade from a baffling computerized oddity to something akin to gold seems crazy. Or maybe something out of a fairy-tale fantasy like the Grimm brothers' Rumpelstiltskin.
For most of us, using a magic spinning wheel to create gold from straw in exchange for the promise of a first-born child is no easier to accept or comprehend than transmuting a string of numbers in a computer into something of real and lasting value.
But there are signs that is what we are seeing now, as investors buy into the most famous crypto example, bitcoin, which teetered this week at what seems like perilous heights above $50,000 US for a single unit. A year ago, it was valued at $10,000 US.
As bitcoin and its many competitors go more mainstream, the cryptocurrency appears to be passing through a transformation from something weird to an accepted financial tool with real value.