The 2013 Crunchies ceremony hit an awkward snag when it came time to present Bitcoin with the Best Technology Achievement Award: Who should accept an award on behalf of Bitcoin? Satoshi? Not likely.

Instead Bitcoin Foundation Chairman Peter Vessenes accepted the prize, which was voted by the readers of TechCrunch magazine and handed out Monday night in San Francisco.

In TechCrunch’s estimation, Bitcoin is “almost mainstream” at this point, and all the news the currency has been making lately — positive and negative — seems to affirm that.

Case in point: Had Charlie Shrem been arrested in early 2013 instead of this year, only a few tech sites would have even reported the news. Now that Bitcoin is a huge story, major newspaper were reporting his arrest that same day.

Overstock and TigerDirect are dealing in Bitcoin. Richard Branson has Bitcoin customers.

And hardly anyone is drumming up scary Silk Road images or wringing their hands over speculation and price. That PR ship has sailed, it would appear.

Instead, the discussion is quickly moving toward “How can I use Bitcoin? How can I make money with it?”

And, thus, TechCrunch readers got it right. If Bitcoin continues this trend, digital currencies themselves might be the most important technology to come about in a generation.