As I write this, the value of one bitcoin (BTC) hovers just above $180 USD and those who once questioned its ability to penetrate the economy are beginning to appreciate it as a worthy competitive currency. While perception of utility is what drives the Euro, USD and assets such as gold, the Bitcoin protocol is designed for such utility and should be considered a legitimate alternative. Although the intrinsic value of a bitcoin is identical to that of a blank PDF or text document, you could say something similarly about the intrinsic value of gold being identical to that of aluminum. If utilitarian value is at the heart of any currency, then one based on a peer-to-peer framework is important to recognize for what it can possibly enable (or disrupt) within the system that already exists.
To illustrate the the utility Bitcoin brings to the table, I think it would be helpful to compare Bitcoin with the Open Garden mesh network as they are both p2p-based protocols: just as Open Garden enables a new way to exchange bandwidth between devices, Bitcoin enables a new way to exchange value (AKA money) between wallets. In this case, access to the Internet is to Open Garden as money is to Bitcoin. These concepts already exist and would continue to do so without either technology, but such innovations allow individuals to connect with less dependency on centralized structures.
Now is the time to start taking Bitcoin seriously and here at Open Garden, we embrace this international, peer-to-peer currency as an attempt at solving the monetary problems encircling the globe.