The 1980s cyberpunk novels that predicted today's internet failed to conceive of anything as outlandish or contradictory as Bitcoin: A digital currency that's spent nowhere, a commodity that's used for nothing, and a libertarian dream that is effectively run by elites.

Now, after its 66 percent price drop from December highs, comes yet another fantastical plot twist.

The Chinese company that makes most of the world's Bitcoin-mining rigs — as well as a big pile of mining and cryptotrading profit — is thinking about a stock-market listing. The proceeds will be used to develop the kind of sophisticated tech that will let it compete head-on with tech giants like Google in areas way beyond Bitcoin.