NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The future of bitcoin is now being driven by a tug of war between Silicon Valley and Wall Street, according to Nathaniel Popper, author of Digital Gold.

"Marc Andreessen is the biggest Silicon Valley name who has put his reputation on the line for bitcoin," says Popper. "What you are seeing on Wall Street is that all the banks have groups that are working on bitcoin. They want to use it to increase productivity to streamline operations, which is what Goldman Sachs (GS) is trying with their recent investment."

Most people think of bitcoin as digital gold in the form of an online token, but the idea of a scarce online good is only part of the story, said Popper.

"The network in which bitcoin lives is also a hugely important part of bitcoin's appeal. The network is an e-mail system for money where you can send somebody funds in Kuala Lumpur without having to go through a central service like a bank. You can simply send money anywhere."

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