I recommend this good article on how the concept of the blockchain (the root of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin) works as a distributed database, improving trust and removing cost by eliminating the need for third parties.
I can imagine using this to lower cost and friction in online advertising, particularly in RTB–assuming the time lag problem can be fixed. Further, it eliminates the need for third parties that exist primarily to collect tolls. Many of the functions from entities like ICANN (domain names), Neustar (local number portability), RIAA/MPAA (media licensing) might no longer be needed, with the benefit of lower costs, better privacy and higher security.
I’ll be reading and thinking a lot more about the blockchain this coming year. How about you?