The latest report from the Centre for the Edge is out, Bitcoin, Blockchain & distributed ledgers: Caught between promise and reality. This report follows on from the one published in February, The Future of Exchanging Value: Cryptocurrencies and the trust economy (FoEV).
In the FoEV we looked at cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, however we had to set aside a discussion on the technologies that underpin cryptocurrencies and their broader affect on society as the report was already quite long.
With Bitcoin, Blockchain & distributed ledger we pick up where we left off, and take close look at the opportunities and problems created by these technologies, and their regulatory implications.
We didn’t want this report to be yet-another explainer, since there’s already a lot of those out there, with the ensuing arguments over technology that invariably seem to follow them.
So rather than focus on the technology – the solution space – we focus on the potential applications – the problem space, to try and understand not just what is possible, but what is practical. This is resulted in a fail compact and pragmatic report focused on a few key areas, as we point out in the report’s introduction.
In From Bitcoin to Distributed Ledgers, we compare the Bitcoin’s ledger with the more familiar physical ledgers that preceded it, and develop the concept of a distributed ledger7 de ned in terms of the problems solved rather than the technologies used.
In A map of the distributed ledger landscape, we identify questions that should be asked when considering a new distributed ledger, creating a map of the solution landscape.
In Regulation, we explore the potential regulatory implications of these solutions, though we only focus on what is different with distributed ledgers. How does one regulate something no single person or organisation is accountable for?
In Applications, we review the strengths and weaknesses identi ed in the previous two sections to develop an understanding of what a distributed ledger can be and what it can’t be.
Finally, in Conclusions, we look at the technology’s potential and what the future might hold.