Startup.boy posted The Fifth Protocol on cryptocurrencies that I hope lights a fire under both computer science and economics students.
Suppose we had a QuickCoin, which cleared transactions nearly instantly, anonymously, and for infinitesimal mining fees. It could use the Bitcoin blockchain for security or for easy trading in and out. SMTP would demand QuickCoin to weed out spam. Routers would exchange QuickCoin to shut down DDoS attacks. Tor Gateways would demand Quickcoin to anonymously route traffic. Machines would bypass centralized DNS and OAuth servers, using Coins to establish ownership.
There are also real-space versions of these ideas that have been emerging too. FasTrak, the electronic toll collection system, could easily allow rates to fluctuate in order to ease congestion. You want to drive into the Bay Area from 7 am - 9 am, expect to pay twice the rates than you would if you drove in at 6 am or 10 am. Utility smart meters can allow energy rates to vary minute by minute, and an app on your phone could tell you exactly how much you are spending minute by minute. Suddenly washing clothes at a different time makes sense.
Cryptocurrencies, in both cyberspace and real-space, lowers transaction costs allowing value to be assigned to most activities on a dynamic basis. Combined with instant feedback to users, this creates incentives that can change behaviors and open the door for new business models.
I believe, as the The Fifth Protocol proposes, cryptocurrencies are going to be a fundamental force in cyberspace (and in real-space IMHO).