The article by New York Times describes how Georgia bets on bitcoin as "a ticket to get onto the world map", and the role Bitfury plays in it.
It's pretty huge imo: it's the first state actor which explicitly encourages bitcoin and mining industry to set up business in their country. They're doing it right (although I'm sure there were some funds exchanged "under the radar" to get that one approved).
As soon as Bitfury opened its doors, Georgia created “free economic zones” where mining activities and electricity weren’t taxed. When Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were exchanged for dollars or pounds, Georgia treated the exchange as an export exempt from value added taxes, so Bitfury could keep every penny of earnings.
> Georgia provided land and cheap electricity so Bitfury, an American company, could set up a Bitcoin mining center in Tbilisi.
I hope they realize the digital currency doesn't necessarily "stay" in Georgia. Either way, the prime minister provided a loan out of his own investment fund, and it's been paid back. Not sure they are betting big on crypto, but they are using 10% of their electricity for it...
I have some friends who started working on interesting projects in the crypto space after Bitcoin 'died'. It seems to me there is still some potential for innovation in this area, as evidenced by the market sizing. Just need to cut some of the ICO/marketing cruft away and be realistic about its usecases.