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A Summary of

Basic primer on blockchain

Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson, Jason Potts
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The blockchain is a digital, decentralized, distributed ledger.


  • Record facts with structured rules
  • Confirm ownership, identity, status, authority
  • Map economic and social relationships
  • Only as reliable as the organization that maintains it
  • The Blockchain is a distributed ledgers that does not rely on a central authority to maintain and validate

Ownership vs. Possession

  • Possession implies ownership but is not ownership
  • Bitcoin has shown money is a ledger, too
    • Possession of a banknote is ownership while possession of bitcoin is simply possession

The Blockchain

  • An experimental technology
  • Some ledgers will move onto the blockchain
  • Can be seen as the invention of mechanical time
  • Firms and governments can use to make their work more efficient and reliable but the blockchain can also replace firms

Contracts and Cryptoeconomics

  • Smart contracts
    • Allow for automatic, autonomous and secure agreements
    • Can eliminate workforce such as accountants, auditors, lawyers and much of the legal system
    • Limited by what is specified in the algorithm
    • The blockchain is an example of a smart contract
  • Complete contract
    • Specifies what is to occur under every possible contingency
    • Impossible to execute
  • Incomplete contract
    • Allows terms of contract to be renegotiated in case of unexpected events

Applications of The Blockchain

  • Regulation of banks
  • Consumers can interact directly with producers or designers limiting middlemen roles
  • Government may find it difficult to tax business using the blockchain leading to greater consumption (sales) taxes
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