With the cryptocurrency boom dominating news headlines as we head into 2018 it's no surprise to see Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg flag it up as one of his top challenges for the year ahead.
The Facebook founder is fighting fires on a number of fronts, from the use of the social media network as a forum for hate crime and fake news to a growing sense of discontent among the population at large about the power wielded by large tech companies.
"With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralises power rather than decentralises it," he writes. "There are important counter-trends to this - like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralised systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services."
The rising public interest in virtual currencies may give Facebook an opportunity to play catch up with Chinese rivals like Alibaba and Tencent, which have overtaken Zuckerberg's brainchild in the payments space through their popular messaging apps and mobile wallets.