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Blockchain 101 - Introduction to Blockchain and Digital Currencies

Introduce yourself to the promise of a new world of digital currencies and assets, with these blockchain research reports, whitepapers and resources.

How did Bitcoin and Blockchain begin? Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?


Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System [October 31, 2008] Satoshi Nakamoto


A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network. The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to attack the network, they'll generate the longest chain and outpace attackers. The network itself requires minimal structure. Messages are broadcast on a best effort basis, and nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the longest proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone.

Is there a global Bitcoin market?


Digital Currency Markets Digital Currency

How can I see a live view of the Bitcoin Blockchain?


Digital Currency Markets Digital Currency

See live bitcoin blockchain activity with one these blockchain explorers:

Watch the Ethereum blockchain here:

Q&A: What is blockchain? PwC


What is blockchain?

At a very high level, the blockchain is a decentralized ledger, or list, of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. This is the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and it has the potential to disrupt a wide variety of business processes.

What the blockchain will mean for the economy and society Z_punkt


Will blockchain technology become a key component of tomorrow’s economy? In this whitepaper, Andreas Neef, Managing Partner of Z_punkt, outlines the vision of a blockchain-based Internet of Value and reflects on what blockchain technology promises, where it could lead us – and what is at stake.

How will blockchain impact the global financial system?

Financial Services

The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services World Economic Forum


The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services World Economic Forum

The transformation of the financial services industry is top-of-mind for everyone in the field and blockchain might be the hottest topic in the rapidly changing world of Fintech. But how can this technology really help financial firms? This report from World Economic Forum takes a pragmatic approach to answering this question.
The report builds upon the findings from Deloitte/World Economic Forum report Disruptive Innovation in Financial Services and looks at the impact of implementing distributed ledger technology across nine sectors of financial services. Our findings suggest this technology has the potential to “live-up to the hype” and reshape financial services, but requires careful collaboration with other emerging technologies, regulators, incumbents and additional stakeholders to be successful.

An Introduction to Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology Kaye Scholer


Bitcoin technology began to enter the public discourse in 2011, largely through its association as an anonymous payment system used on illicit and underground websites. As with most innovations that are first described in tabloid format, the story mischaracterized the technology and failed to identify the most important and varied potentials of what Bitcoin and its associated “Blockchain” technology promise. This primer will attempt to reboot your introduction to Bitcoin and convey some of the reasons why many in the financial and technology sectors are excited about its promise. A glossary of common terms appears at the end of this primer.

What is the global blockchain ecosystem?

2016 Blockchain Ecosystem Market Map [December 2015] First Partner


This Market Map provides an overview of the core principles behind the blockchain or distributed ledger technology that promises to revolutionise financial services. It also gives a clear visual summary of the evolving ecosystem growing around the leading block chain protocols. Covering Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies along with so called "Crypto 2.0" technologies, the Map is an essential guide to the blockchain.

The future of exchanging value: Uncovering new ways of spending Deloitte
The explosion of new technology and virtual currencies is changing where, when and how people and business exchange value.

The future of exchanging value: How is your business shaping digital payments and the trust economy? Deloitte

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Distributed Ledgers: What questions should we be asking? Deloitte


This distributed ledgers report takes a deeper look at the business, regulatory and practical implications of the technologies that underpin them.
Bitcoin and blockchain have triggered a new technological gold rush. If we're to believe the hype, there's no problem that can't be solved by putting it ‘on the blockchain’. Proposals are flooding the market: from blockchain-enabled payments, through to identity management solutions, and Amazon and Uber killers – all powered by blockchain. It all sounds too good to be true, much like cloud computing did in its early days.

Rethinking enterprises, ecosystems and economies with blockchains IBM

Blockchain: The smart person's guide TechRepublic

What is Canada's view on blockchain?

Digital Currency: You Can’t Flip This Coin! The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. June 2015. Senate of Canada


The Senate Banking Committee launched its study on digital currencies in March 2014. While the focus of the Committee’s study was “digital currencies” in general, many witnesses spoke specifically about cryptocurrencies, which are digital currencies that rely on encryption. Bitcoin was the cryptocurrency most often discussed by witnesses.

Public hearings in Ottawa and a fact-finding trip in New York City enabled Senators to explore the potential uses for these currencies, and to learn about the opportunities, the risks and challenges resulting from the use of digital currencies and their technologies.

Fintech and the Financial Ecosystem - Evolution or Revolution? [Speech given June 2016 by Carolyn Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor] Bank of Canada

Distributed consensus ledgers for payments. How banks can realize the full opportunities of cryptocurrency technologies, including the blockchain, in payments Senate of Canada


The global rise of Bitcoin has introduced the world to distributed consensus ledgers, blockchains and cryptocurrencies. Usage of Bitcoin itself is growing strongly, with transactions volume now reaching over 200,000 per day and a market capitalization fluctuating between US$3bn and US$4bn.

However, rather than the digital currency itself, many Financial Services executives are more interested in the underlying technology that Bitcoin uses—specifically the ‘blockchain’, or more generically the distributed consensus ledger (DCL—see panel on page 5 for definitions). Interest focuses particularly on this technology’s potential to enhance efficiency, trust, transparency, reach and innovation in the financial markets. And as various players investigate these possible uses, claims are being made about the potential to revolutionize financial services, disrupt long established business models and reduce costs.


Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond block chain. A report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser. January 2016. UK Government

Deep Shift - Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impact. World Economic Forum Survey Report. September 2015 World Economic Forum


Blockchain 201 - A Deeper Dive into Blockchain

Dive into blockchain

Is there an advanced blockchain video course online?


Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies Online Course [2015] Princeton

Financial Services

Global Insight: Blockchain in Banking: Disruptive Threat or Tool? Morgan Stanley


Blockchains could have widespread potential to disrupt financial intermediaries. Our in-depth study suggests several misconceptions & identifies 10 hurdles to overcometo make blockchain areality inbanking. The opportunity is clear but the bluesky is too far off to impact our 2017/18e.

The pot of gold? Higher efficiencies. It's early days, but industry heavyweights aresponsoring a widerange of blockchain usecases supported by industry consortiums. As NIM fades and capital builds, global bank managements press harder for a step down in costs. Cost mutualisation through blockchain architected financial system utilities could provide some earnings boostafter therelated multi-year investment spend plateaus.

But blockchains could be a double-edged sword and disrupt financials. Blockchains won't just change the Financial Services' ITarchitecture. They could also changea ccessible profit pools. A lot will depend on the governance and how quickly incumbents move.Thefirms holding thekeys to the data and the IT architecturecould drive more profit pool towards themselves. So it's no wonder that the custodians like JPM, BK and STT are among the lead sponsors of Linux Hyperledger and are members of R3 as they seek to drive the standard and retain their ground.


Blockchain: Opportunities for health care Deloitte


Blockchain technology has the potential to transform health care, placing the patient at the center of the health care ecosystem and increasing the security, privacy, and interoperability of health data. This technology could provide a new model for health information exchanges (HIE) by making electronic medical records more efficient, disintermediated, and secure. While it is not a panacea, this new, rapidly evolving field provides fertile ground for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing.​

Digital Assets on Public Blockchains [March 2016, White Paper] Bitfury Group


Digital asset management is one of promising applications of blockchain technology. Blockchains could provide principal disintermediation between digital asset issuers, application developers and consumers and decouple tasks related to asset management, such as issuance, transaction processing, securing users’ funds and establishing users’ identities. This paper outlines basic components of blockchain-based asset ledgers, as well as their use cases for financial services and for emerging Internet of Things and consumer-to-consumer markets. We describe existing and prospective deployment models for asset ledgers, including multi-asset blockchains, colored coin and metacoin protocols. This paper focuses primarily on Bitcoin-based services and, to a lesser degree, on public blockchains in general.


Chain Reaction: How Blockchain Technology Might Transform Wholesale Insurance PwC


The power of possible
The potential for blockchain to deliver substantial value to financial services is enormous. Not only does blockchain offer the promise of cost reduction and efficiency, but it could also enable revenue growth, as insurers attract new business through higher-quality service.

Blockchain technologies can help the wholesale insurance sector fulfil its role in underpinning the global economy more effectively. Just as blockchain is being pursued as a force for positive change in other areas of society – from identification for refugees to better public service delivery – it can also help wholesale insurance to discharge its responsibilities for the common good.

Financial Services

Corda: An Introduction [August 2016] R3CEV


A distributed ledger made up of mutually distrusting nodes would allow for a single global database that records the state of deals and obligations between institutions and people. This would eliminate much of the manual, time consuming effort currently required to keep disparate ledgers synchronised with each other. It would also allow for greater levels of code sharing than presently used in the financial industry, reducing the cost of financial services for everyone. We present Corda, a platform which is designed to achieve these goals. This paper provides a high level introduction intended for the general reader. A forthcoming technical white paper elaborates on the design and fundamental architectural decisions.


Financial Services

Blockchain Technology and Applications from a Financial Perspective [Technical Report] UniCredit


This article aims at presenting potential financial industry blockchain applications leveraging UniCredit laboratory experience. Proposed vision promotes cross-effort and collaborative relationship amid financial institutions and fintech startups as blockchain initiatives’ critical success factors.

Wide adoption of blockchain technology has the potential of reshaping the current financial services technical infrastructure. The change is expected to bring with it benefits to the existing business processes through removal of intermediaries, flat data structures that will reduce the lags of reconciliations among different local ledgers, compressed confirmation times and near real-time settlement of transactions.

Moreover, there are underlying technical aspects of the blockchain which will provide data and transaction immutability, resiliency against cyber-attacks and fault tolerance.

Formerly, blockchain technology is introduced from both a technological and a functional point of view. Then, financial use cases are proposed, showing financial industry impacts and benefits.


Blockchain 301 - The Technology

Get technical.


Ethereum Ethereum Foundation

The Ethereum Foundation’s mission is to promote and support research, development and education to bring decentralized protocols and tools to the world that empower developers to produce next generation decentralized applications (dapps), and together build a more globally accessible, more free and more trustworthy Internet.


HyperLedger Project Linux Foundation

The Hyperledger Project is a collaborative effort created to advance blockchain technology by identifying and addressing important features for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers that can transform the way business transactions are conducted globally. The Project is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project and implements many open source best practices familiar to other leading projects.

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