One of Silicon Valley’s biggest players is putting a fortune behind Bitcoin businesses.

The $2.5 billion venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is clearly bullish on Bitcoin, having invested almost $50 million in Bitcoin startups.

Founder Marc Andreessen, who authored the Mosaic web browser then founded Netscape in the 90s, likened Bitcoin at this stage to the early Internet and the personal computer circa 1975.

“[T]he gulf between what the press and many regular people believe Bitcoin is, and what a growing critical mass of technologists believe Bitcoin is, remains enormous,” Andreessen wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

Bitcoin, he continues, represents the first real way “to establish trust between otherwise unrelated parties over an untrusted network like the Internet.”

Andreessen argues that Bitcoin’s ability to overcome the need for trust from a third party is revolutionary. The fact that two people can agree on an exchange, remain more or less anonymous, yet have the exchange itself recorded publically is a “breakthrough” that is “hard to overstate.”

This model could extend to signatures, digital keys and digital securities.

He later goes on to explain how Bitcoin allows for few if any transaction fees and facilitates micropayments. Regular readers here know these arguments by heart now, but it’s good to see them in America’s Paper of Record.

The full op-ed is here, and it’s well worth a read. Pay careful attention to the sly dig he levels at that newspaper’s own columnists, one of whom (Paul Krugman) last month had a provocative piece titled “Bitcoin is Evil.”

(The astute reader will note that Andreessen and Krugman also held opposing views in the mid-90s as to whether the Internet would be a revolution or a fad.)