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Blockchain Revolution Without the Blockchain?
Communications of ACM (2018)
  • Hanna Halaburda
Blockchain has attracted a lot of attention. Many are excited about this new technology based on a public, permissionless, distributed ledger that cryptographically assures immutability without a need for a trusted third party and allows for smart contracts. Large and small companies want to get on board, as they expect this technology will lower their costs by making transactions quicker, safer, transparent, and decentralized. However, the technology behind the blockchain is for the most part not well understood—there is no consensus on what benefits it may really bring, or on how it may fail.
A more careful look into the technology reveals that most of the proposed benefits of "blockchain technologies" do not really come from blockchain. Smart contracts, encryption, and distributed ledger are separate concepts. The three may be implemented together, but they do not need to be. Most of the proposed benefits come from encryption and smart contracts. But encryption and smart contracts do not need blockchain.
  • blockchain
Publication Date
July, 2018
Citation Information
Hanna Halaburda. "Blockchain Revolution Without the Blockchain?" Communications of ACM Vol. 61 Iss. 7 (2018) p. 27 - 29
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