Blockchain technology is perhaps the most talked about and yet the most
misunderstood emerging technology in the world today.
Since its inception, the secure, distributed ledger technology has widely been viewed
through the lens of virtual currencies, particularly the hype surrounding the buying
and trading of Bitcoin and other digital coin offerings. Indeed, surveys have shown that
consumers are largely aware of what Bitcoin is, but do not know or understand about
the blockchain technology that powers it.
Indeed, the increased popularity of the original Bitcoin
application as well as intensified regulatory scrutiny of
new “initial coin offerings” has dominated news coverage
of blockchain-related technology. But those news stories
have obscured the quiet blockchain revolution that has been
taking hold at major corporations, among forward-thinking
policymakers, and with startup technologists, who have
been exploring how blockchain technology could make a
wide variety of corporate and government operations more
efficient and secure. A May 2018 Deloitte survey of corporate
executives around the world found that 74 percent see a
“compelling business case” for the use of blockchain, and
34 percent reported that their company has already begun
work on blockchain systems; and another 41 percent said
they expect to deploy a blockchain application within the
Indeed, the public and private sector use cases for
blockchain touch almost every sector — from health
care and real estate to cybersecurity and education. As
a somewhat early adopter, the federal government has
begun blockchain projects at the Department of Defense,
the Department of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug
Administration, and the General Services Administration,
among others. State and local governments also have begun to employ blockchain, for example, in land title
and health provider registries. In the private sector,
meanwhile, companies have announced major investments
in blockchain, such as Walmart and IBM partnering on a pilot
project to secure the food supply chain.
These early adopters are not using blockchain just because
it’s the hot new topic in tech circles. Inherent in the
technology’s value are a number of benefits, such as:
- Security and audit trails that are built into the
way it creates immutable records of new data and
- The ease at which it can facilitate, record and share data
and transactions in a relatively frictionless fashion with
little need for human interaction;
- The ability to consolidate data across various systems;
- Its capacity to provide end-to-end visibility and
transparency into an entire network.
In fact, Gartner recently pegged the business value of
blockchain to grow to $176 billion by 2025 and more than
$3 trillion by 2030 through increased business efficiency.
Those predictions suggest that the related trade in
cryptocurrencies will become less volatile and that
regulators will continue to target scam artists to protect
As public sector institutions experiment with blockchain
solutions, each organization should thoughtfully evaluate
where they want to be on the continuum of blockchain
adoption — from taking a risk-averse wait-and-see approach
to becoming a potential pioneer for new use cases and
implementation. Those positions will likely be impacted
by an organization’s ability to find the right partners with
which to build a consortium. As more organizations adopt
and experiment with blockchain, it is critical to foster a
community of shared learning to accelerate public sector
As more and more businesses, governments, and other
institutions begin to look seriously at blockchain’s benefits,
so too might they begin considering how to incentivize the
continued development of blockchain innovations that
can be used to make government operations more secure,
transparent, and efficient.
To do that, CompTIA suggests policymakers consider
developing policies for blockchain environments that
encourage developers and market participants to continue
innovating and providing solutions that will aid the public
sector in achieving its mission and goals.
But policymakers first should understand the promise, the
uses and the questions that blockchain currently presents. We
hope this guide will provide a framework for that analysis.
I. What is blockchain
Though the concept of a blockchain has been around since 1991, the first real blockchain
technology first emerged about a decade ago with the release of Bitcoin, which was billed as a
“peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” Bitcoin has been shrouded in mystery given its creator,
who billed him or herself as Satoshi Nakamoto, has never been conclusively identified. As
enthusiasm for Bitcoin grew over the years, a blockchain industry slowly evolved.
The introduction in 2014 of Ethereum, a decentralized
blockchain applications platform, popularized the concept
of smart, self-executing contracts using the blockchain.
Importantly, Ethereum’s developers created a platform that has
allowed other blockchain projects to use their underlying code
to create unique applications, products, services and virtual
currencies, which has helped fuel both the cryptocurrency
boom and innovation for other blockchain use cases.
IBM’s “Blockchain Basics” guide explains it this way:
Distributed to all member nodes in the
network, the ledger permanently records,
in a sequential chain of cryptographic
hash-linked blocks, the history of asset
exchanges that take place between the
peers in the network.
All the confirmed and validated transaction blocks are
linked and chained from the beginning of the chain to
the most current block, hence the name blockchain.
The blockchain thus acts as a single source of truth, and
members in a blockchain network can view only those
transactions that are relevant to them.
Whether through Bitcoin, Ethereum or another application,
blockchain is a method for recording transactional
information by storing, securing, and sharing data between
separate parties. But rather than keeping a record of all
transactions in a central location or database, blockchain
utilizes a distributed transparent ledger.
In this way, blockchain enables free exchange of data, or
value, between entities that may or may not know each
other. This data or value can be in the form of information,
currency, or anything else that may represent or provide
value to others on the blockchain. The blockchain
method provides many benefits over centralized forms of
recordkeeping, including transparency of data and no single
point of failure.
And the transactions, once executed, are tamper-evident
because of the transparent nature of the ledger.
It’s often said that blockchain is a team sport. It’s a team
sport because its success – its existence even – relies on a
consortium of collaborators to work together in establishing
technical protocols and governance models. By definition,
as a distributed ledger technology, blockchain requires
more than one player. Taking that analogy a bit further,
a team of blockchain players will also be enhanced when
there are other teams in the league and each league is more
transformative when it interacts with other leagues.
As evidenced by the emerging blockchain use cases, the
real value is found in the largely frictionless transactions
throughout the networks, ecosystems, and, ultimately,
interoperationally among those ecosystems. For example,
a blockchain food traceability implementation by a global
retailer by itself would not have achieved its transformative
potential without expansion beyond that retailer’s supply
chain. Expanding all the way back to the farmer and including
all the parties in and interacting with that supply chain
is what makes it so powerful. The highest value will be
realized when those supply chain ecosystems are then also
interoperating with other retail and food supply ecosystems,
payment and fintech ecosystems, legal, insurance and risk
management ecosystems, global transportation and customs
regulatory ecosystems, health and wellness ecosystems,
As sports professionals know, to achieve peak performance
players and teams must be properly equipped. Similarly, to
realize the $3 trillion in business value identified by Gartner,
enterprises (the public and private sectors alike) must also
be properly equipped. An enterprise-grade blockchain effort
requires that it be:
- Built on open standards
- Scalable and enterprise secure
- Developed with industry expertise by convening new ecosystems
II. A Look at Blockchain
Most transactions today pass
through a centralized third
party that maintains a master
ledger of all transactions. This
ensures integrity but also
In systems that utilize
technology such as
blockchain, every node
on a participating
network keeps a copy
of the full ledger of
cryptography built into
the ledger maintains
integrity while reducing
When a new
defined by the
Once the transaction is
validated, the new block is
added to the chain. Each
node on the network updates
its copy of the ledger, and
the node that successfully
validated the block receives
some sort of reward.
III. What are the benefits of using
Immutable Transaction Ledger and Audit Trails
Blockchain data is tamper-resistant, meaning that one can’t simply modify the ledger
without anyone else knowing. Blockchain data is cryptographically linked and secured
so that making changes to the ledger is both difficult and easily detectable.
Indeed, participants must use digital signatures with private
keys that track the transactions from specific participants.
While most blockchain transactions today are pseudoanonymous,
some private blockchain entities require ID
verification and two-factor authentication before allowing
users to access their services. This further reduces the
dangers of malicious actors participating freely.
Consolidating Databases Securely
and Sharing Data
Another emerging benefit of blockchain is the potential to
consolidate transaction data from many disparate database
systems without creating the security risks of a centralized
authority or owner. That consolidated data can then be
shared easily among the participants in the blockchain.
Traditional databases are typically owned and operated by
a single person or organization. This brings about a number
of security risks and process inefficiencies, depending on the
particular use case at hand. For instance, the ease with which
a single person could access and tamper with a database
without other members knowing can be alarming. In fact, an
unauthorized or unethical user could tamper with traditional
databases in just a few command line entries, effecting the status or ownership of data that represents real value.
Additionally, enterprise resource planning and supply
chain management systems often are set up separately to
store information related to the ordering, processing, and
fulfillment of a final product. However, if a problem occurs or
if there’s something of interest within the supply chain that
needs to be investigated or addressed, there are often many
layers of information systems that have to be used to reach
a final answer or discovery. This is inherently inefficient and
can directly result in consequences for all members of the
Blockchain has the ability to consolidate, store, and share
data from all of these disparate systems while maintaining
a decentralized system of ownership. Each member of the
supply chain would have access to their own blockchain node
meaning they are all equal-owners and have copies of the
blockchain ledger. The result of this is that each member has
access to more information than they currently have access
to in their own systems, but they don’t have to relinquish
control of their data to other participants.
While blockchain currently can be used to consolidate
transaction data, it should be noted that the existing
technology still has some scalability limits that could
make integrating large databases unwieldy. However, as of the writing of this guide, new applications to enhanceblockchain’s scalability are emerging. More information on
blockchain scalability can be found in Chapter VIII.
Customizable Smart Contracts
Blockchain provides the ability to experience end-to-end
visibility and transparency into a network that would
otherwise be divided by the various information systems
being used. Participants can ensure that their business
partners or employees are transacting ethically, within rules
that are agreed to through a blockchain enabled feature
called smart contracts.
Smart contracts are customizable pieces of code that
serve the purpose of enforcing business rules and other
agreements on all transactions that occur on the blockchain.
This feature gives a blockchain application the flexibility and
customization required to be effective for many business or
public sector uses.
Security and Data Protection
In today’s digital and interconnected world, data security and
data protection are top of mind for both public and private
sectors, which is why many technologists have been looking
to blockchain to add an additional layer of security and
Blockchain secures its records via a highly-encrypted, 256-bit
string called a hash that is updated for every transaction
and is recorded across all nodes in the blockchain system.
Even if cyber criminals were able to copy or steal blockchain
records, it is highly unlikely that they could break through the sophisticated encryption associated with a blockchain
record. Likewise, records in one blockchain system node
that might be accidentally or purposefully lost or destroyed
could be reconstituted from the other copies that are kept
in the multitude of other nodes that record each and every
In that way, blockchain is considered
one of the most secure technologies
emerging today, because of its
inherent security features, including:
- Immutable data records
- Audit trails can verify the authenticity of data.
- Confidential or private information can be
secured through additional encryption.
- Data protection is built into blockchain
because the decentralized nature of the
records means that copies can be accessed via
the multi-node aspect of the technology.
- Privacy applications could allow large groups
of data to be anonymized to gain insight from
that information while hiding or eliminating
the personally identifiable information, or PII,
- System Verification and Access IDs ensure
that systems talking to each other are
verified and authorized to access/exchange
data, while access IDs combine two or more
factor authentication to ensure secure and
- Public / Private / Court Keys could allow
access to data or other records, such as
communication records or bank transactions,
for law enforcement investigations. (Note:
This could be controversial from a privacy
standpoint. It would have to be built into the
technology, and would need to be accessible
to law enforcement only with proper legal
IV. The Blockchain Universe
V. Blockchain Applications by Use Case and Sector
The potential industry and government sector opportunities for blockchain are
seemingly endless, and according to market intelligence firm IDC, the 2018 worldwidespend on blockchain will be $2.1 billion dollars. While many public and private sector
entities are exploring blockchain technology, the growth sectors currently are in
financial services and supply chain management.
A. Finance and Payment Systems
Given Bitcoin was developed as an alternative payment
system or currency, the implications of blockchain for finance
and payments has been the most obvious use case for the
In the U.S., many companies, such as Goldman Sachs,
CME Group, and others, have begun to dip their toe into
blockchain-powered cryptocurrency markets by opening
or planning to open Bitcoin futures operations. Other investment banks and hedge funds are looking at whether to
offer cryptocurrency trading. However, broader adoption of
cryptocurrency trading by legacy Wall Street firms will largely
depend on how the Securities and Exchange Commission
and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission decide to
regulate such products.
Some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada,
are attempting to stimulate innovation in the finance and
payment systems space by creating regulatory sandboxes. In
announcing their sandbox in 2017, for example, the Canadian Securities Administrators solicited bids for blockchain
Online platforms, including crowdfunding portals, online
lenders, angel investor networks or other technological
innovations for securities trading and advising;
Business models using artificial intelligence for trades
Cryptocurrency or distributed ledger technology-based
Technology service providers to the securities industry,
such as non-client facing risk; and
Compliance support services (also known as regulatory
technology or regtech).
These regulatory sandboxes highlight that finance and
payment applications of blockchain extend beyond stock
market-like trading of virtual assets. The potential benefits of
using blockchain in finance and payments include streamlining
payment systems; securing financial data; eliminating middlemen,
such as banks, for conducting trustworthy transactions
between entities or individuals; and guarding against waste,
fraud and abuse, to name a few.
The International Monetary Fund has recognized the
potential for blockchain to transform banking and finance
worldwide and has cautioned regulators to take a light touch
on regulation given the potential benefits of blockchain for
central banks and other financial institutions.
In its April 2018 Global Financial
Stability Report , the IMF stated:
Crypto assets have the potential to
combine the benefits of traditional
currencies and commodities. Like fiat
money, they can potentially be exchanged for other
currencies, be used for payments, and store value.
As investment products, they may offer portfolio
diversification, although their ability to do so is
still limited by their short track record, regulatory
uncertainty, and primitive market infrastructure.
The technology underlying crypto assets—distributed
ledger technology (DLT)—could also lead to more
efficient market infrastructure (IMF 2016a and CPMI
2017). This technology differs from traditional payment
systems, which require a clearing entity, such as a
central bank, that settles transactions and distributes
funds between participants. DLT, in contrast, uses
multiple copies of the central ledger, which are kept by
Indeed, blockchain is being looked at by entities of all sizes
as a solution for ordinary retail payments; B2B payments;
stock market trades and transactions; cross-border payments
that short-circuit exchange rate fees; and even to augment
governments’ central currencies.
Financial services firms invest early in blockchain
The U.S. Federal Reserve has pointed out the potential
benefits of blockchain as well, but cautioned that the
immutable nature of blockchain transactions and other
issues does create some legal concerns that will need to be
worked out before blockchain begins to be used more widely
by central banks.
From the federal to the local level, blockchain could be
used in the collection and recording of business, property,
personal income, excise, and other taxes. In addition to
creating an immutable record and an audit trail, a blockchain
could also allow for taxes to be instantaneously collected
and recorded at the moment of services or compensation.
This could significantly reduce the friction and time in
processing taxes both for the entity collecting the tax as well
as for those paying the tax.
The verification process for benefits distribution has
historically been time-consuming and fraught with errors,
both honest clerical mistakes and occasionally intended
misrepresentation. Blockchain-based authentication could
be utilized to determine eligibility and access to social safety
net services, such as Social Security and Medicare, in a way
that could greatly reduce fraud, waste and abuse through the
use of smart contracts and automation. This also could ease
the administrative burden and arguably free more dollars for
the original intent of the program.
Similar to benefits distribution, grant making could be
simplified and made more efficient through blockchain
verification processes and distribution.
B. Supply Chain Management and Logistics
The use case for blockchain that is most mentioned
outside of finance and payment systems is supply chain
management. For both the public and private sectors, the
ability to track with certainty the origins and destinations of
products and services would substantially simplify what is
now an incredibly complex global system.
Deloitte has described the benefits thusly:
The availability of this information within blockchain
can increase traceability of material supply chain,
lower losses from counterfeit and gray market,
improve visibility and compliance over outsourced
contract manufacturing, and potentially enhance
an organization’s position as a leader in responsible
Private sector companies seeking to employ blockchain
for supply chain management include pharmaceutical
distributors; agriculture/food distribution; retailers; digital
media; cargo shipping; airlines; and delivery carriers, to name
Food safety is essentially a supply chain management issue,
and the unique benefits of using blockchain to secure the
food supply chain from farm to table brings substantial
public health benefits. Blockchain could allow public health
agencies and food sellers to quickly and easily trace the
source of a food-borne illness, which would speed recalls and
prevent more people from being sickened.
In 2017, Walmart and IBM announced a partnership with
Unilever, Tyson, Dole and Nestle to pilot a blockchain project
designed to track the food supply chain from food suppliers
to store shelves.
Transportation and Customs
Blockchain technology for supply chain management can
be used in a variety of transportation, customs, and import/
export related systems for supply chain management and
At ports, airports, and rail stations as well as in the trucking
and commercial delivery sectors, blockchain could be used
by both the public and private sectors as a way to establish
end-to-end tracking of imports, exports, shipping containers,
products, packages, and services. For vehicles on the move,
technology such as license plate readers, radio frequency
technology, or toll readers, could be used in conjunction with
blockchain to ensure transactions and information can be
authenticated, billed and reconciled in real time.
Maersk, the Danish container shipping giant, has been testinga blockchain solution from the University of Copenhagen to
digitize the ships’ cargo inventories in a partnership with IBM.
C. Autonomous Vehicles
As driverless cars and trucks become more and more of a
reality, the types of blockchain applications for autonomous
vehicles, or AVs, may include a blend of payment systems,
supply chain management, and information sharing.
Automakers, such as BMW, Ford, Renault, and General Motors,
have begun exploring blockchain solutions that range from
managing driving data to ride-share transactions and vehicle
identity and usage information. The automakers’ consortium,
known as Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), aims to
explore how blockchain can be used to create an ecosystem for
AVs by creating common standards so that cars and trucks can
communicate with each other and make payments as needed.
Chris Ballinger, the chairman and CEO
of MOBI, has said that he believes the
decentralized nature of blockchain
not only will ensure that AV data is not
owned by any one entity, but also might
be able to improve road safety and
reduce traffic congestion.
D. Blockchain for Records Management
Both public and private sector health care systems are
looking into the uses of blockchain technology as a more
secure way to share and store health records, conduct billing,
and liaise with insurance carriers.
Public health officials, in particular, see blockchain as a way
to share medical records securely, which will aid doctors to
better understand a patient’s history, give patients more
control over their information, and protect such information
from malicious actors, according to a September 2017 report
in MIT Technology Review.
The technology also has shown promise in helping to verify
doctor credentials. One Tennessee company is developing
blockchain technology to “provide the market with a solution
to address the effort, cost, redundancy, and complexity of
obtaining and verifying practitioner identity and credentialing
information,” according to its press release. Of course,
blockchain applications do not just apply to private sector
doctors and hospitals, the ability to store and share medical
records on the blockchain offers promise for government
health care programs and entitlements, as well.
Health information technology solution provider Cerner has
also placed an emphasis on blockchain. The company is creating
a demonstrable prototype leveraging blockchain to provide
security and auditability for a payer chart review process. A
description of Cerner’s prototype can be found here.
The applications of blockchain in education range from
verifying teaching credentials and sharing student
transcripts to transferring credits between institutions
and issuing continuing education certifications. Using the
decentralized nature of blockchain could give students and
educators more control over their own information without
having to contact the institutions issuing the degrees or
In 2017, Sony announced it had developed blockchain
technology for K-12 that “centralizes the management of
data from multiple educational institutions and makes
it possible to record and reference educational data and
digital transcripts.” Putting such information on the
blockchain makes it more difficult to alter or fabricate, and
in announcing the initiative, Sony asserted that it will allow
schools to “safely integrate and connect previously gathered
data as is from ‘Student information systems’ and ‘learning
systems,’ even if that data came from different providers.”
Additionally, Central New Mexico Community College
became one of the fist institutions of higher learning to use
the blockchain to issue digital diplomas on the blockchain,
allowing graduates to “independently manage their own,
hard-earned education records and securely share them
with employers or other schools for the rest of their lives,”
according to the press release.
Additionally, educational institutions could use blockchain or
cryptocurrencies to ease payment for services.
Election Management and Voting
The security inherent in blockchain has made it a potentially
attractive solution for local election managers, because the
technology could help minimize any potential voting fraud
and also allow for a standardized ID of sorts beyond drivers
licenses to validate voter eligibility.
However, the scale and scope of integrating blockchain into
our voting systems, especially in high-population and highturnout
areas, still face challenges. This is because the longer
and bigger blockchains become, the more unwieldy they
are. Additionally, the amount of computing power needed
to process such a large volume of records could prove a
So, any blockchain-based voting application would have to
be implemented on a tiered basis to be effective and secure.
One tier of blockchain based voting would be local in nature
but would tabulate and summarize the state and federal level
totals and pass just those summary transactions up to the
state level. Likewise, tier 2 at the state level would record all
of the state and federal level votes, tabulate and summarize
those values and pass just the federal level (such as
presidential or congressional votes) up to a third tier national
level blockchain for further tabulation and results.
While using blockchain for elections presents some
scalability challenges, some states are already testing it. In
March 2018, West Virginia announced a blockchain-powered
pilot program for overseas military voters but limited it to
those who claim residency in two counties.
Patents, trademarks and copyrights are some of the
most important business records’ that companies rely
on the government to safeguard and authenticate. Using
blockchain, those records could be easier to process and
simpler to validate, and the technology could help streamline
the approval process for new patents while keeping
intellectual property encrypted for protection.
With scourges like identity theft making personal
information a commodity, some private and public sector
institutions are looking at blockchain as a solution for people
to control their personal information and for entities to more
easily validate it. Possibilities include using blockchain for
digital, multi-factor authentication and representation for
things like Social Security cards, drivers’ licenses, and nondriver
As some have pointed out, such systems will likely need to be
generated by government entities and that blockchain may
be just one part of a larger identity management system.
A variety of property related transactions could be recorded
and managed on the blockchain, including transactions
involving leasing, purchasing and sales.
A Deloitte report posited that blockchain technology
could help consumers by reducing costs associated
with title management; improving the property search
process for would-be buyers; expediting pre-transaction
activities such as underwriting, financial evaluation and
obtaining a mortgage commitment; managing ongoing
lease agreements; and enabling more efficient financing
In the public sector, some localities are already
experimenting with using blockchain technology and
smart contracts to create secure records of deeds and
other real property.
Similar to property ownership and transaction records,
blockchain could be used to securely record company
registrations and provide consumers with a way to validate
its legitimacy. This is especially important today given digital
scams and imposters targeting legitimate enterprises.
In 2017, Delaware became the first state to facilitate the
ability of corporations to record issuances, transfers and
ownership of stock using blockchain technology.
All kinds of licensures from simple drivers’ licenses to
service and professional licenses could be addressed via a
Besides building more efficient and frictionless systems,
it would also be much easier for a consumer of services
provided by licensed individuals or business to validate
that license on the spot via smart phone or web app with no
need for human verification. This would greatly improve the
government’s ability to ensure that goods and services are
only being delivered by those who are licensed to do so.
Courts and the Legal System
Tracking of court proceedings and cases processed is another
system that could benefit by the use of blockchain to record
all proceedings in business, civil and criminal courts.
VI. Federal Government Blockchain Initiatives
Many federal agencies and departments are exploring the uses of blockchain
technology for various purposes. While the below is not an exhaustive list, it’s clear the
federal government is looking deeply at whether blockchain solutions are appropriate
for everything from health records and cybersecurity to database management and
other general efficiencies.
Some federal agencies and departments have already begun
to explore blockchain including:
Department of Defense
Department of Homeland Security
Food and Drug Administration
General Services Administration
Department of State
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Department of the Treasury
Department of Defense
In the most recent military spending bill
signed by President Trump, the Department
of Defense was authorized to investigate
the “potential offensive and defensive cyber
applications of blockchain technology and
other distributed database technologies.” It has also been
reported that the Department of Defense has been studying
blockchain for the purposes of delivering secure messaging
and protection of the digital 3D printing supply chain.
Department of Homeland Security
As discussed previously, blockchain shows
tremendous promise for cybersecurity. So, it’s
no surprise that in 2016 the Department of
Homeland Security’s Science and Technology
Directorate awarded a $199K contract for
“Blockchain Software to Prove Integrity of Captured Datafrom Border Devices” to Factom. The purpose of the contract
is to authenticate “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices to
prevent spoofing and ensure data integrity by making use of
blockchain technology. This contract was awarded through the
Science and Technology Silicon Valley Innovation Program.
That same year, the department awarded grants to
four companies to develop solutions under the rubric
of “Applicability of Blockchain Technology to Identity
Management and Privacy Protection.”
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration has
initiated a study to determine how data from
electronic medical records, clinical trials,
and health data from wearable devices
could be best utilized with blockchain
technology for the purposes of sharing and auditing the
data. The initial phase will focus on clinical trials and data
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration has
built its own federal procurement blockchain
proof of concept. This exercise was meant to
demonstrate how blockchain could improve
the federal procurement process. The proof
of concept showed results that allowed the awarding of
contracts to be reduced by ten times. This was accomplished
by automating processes like financial review and making
use of smart contracts to calculate certain factors. Use of this
automation and smart contracts also reduced the occurrence
of clerical errors, fraud, or personal bias in the awarding of
As one General Services Administration official said in
November 2017, “Rather than take a number of days to
do financial analysis and a number of days to develop a
negotiation position, rather than have to log into a bunch of
different systems to find that information and organize it, we
are able to do that now in one second. And that lessens the
burden on the industry partner, and it allows the contracting professional to focus more on critical thinking tasks rather
than the process tasks associated with interacting with
In addition, the General Services Administration has created
a blockchain community with blog posts and other forms
of communication to foster the education and inclusion of
blockchain technology as they approach agency issues.
Department of State
The Department of State has formed a
working group to determine how blockchain
can best be utilized to assist State with their
responsibilities. While still in the exploratory
stage, the Blockchain@State group is looking to
blockchain as a way for “increasing transparency, maximizing
the impact and accountability of foreign assistance, and
improving IT platforms,” according to the department.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) most recently issued the
“Draft NIST Interagency Report (NISTIR)8202: Blockchain Technology Overview.” The purpose of the
overview was to introduce blockchain to the uninitiated,
discuss the use of blockchain as it relates to cryptocurrency,
and explore some of its broader applications.
Department of Treasury
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Office of
Financial Innovation and Transformation (FIT)
is exploring how to use blockchain to keep
track of and manage physical assets, such as
computers, cell phones and other equipment.
As FIT’s press release noted, “Distributed ledger technology
has shown great potential for streamlining burdensome
reconciliation operations that are involved in many financial
processes. The pilot project will test whether the inventory of
an agency’s physical assets can be continuously monitored
and reconciled in real time as the physical assets are
transferred from person to person throughout the pilot.”
VII. State and Local Blockchain Initiatives
Many states are moving forward on blockchain initiatives in various ways. Some, such
as Illinois, have taken the lead in adoption of the technology to identify more efficient
and cost effective ways to provide services to their residents.
Some states are working on pilot programs for the securing
of data and the continuous tracking of assets, including
marijuana. Cities are also working on pilot programs. Austin,Texas and South Burlington, Vermont are piloting separate
programs that, respectively, would assist in the distribution
of services to the homeless as well as the registration of
local land and property ownership.
Others have, or are in the process of, enacting legislation
to assist blockchain industry growth. However, to date,
no state has taken any pilot program to full adoption. This
highlights that the technology is still in its infancy and
experimentation is more common than use in a large-scale
manner. However, the increasing number of states becoming
active in the sector does speak to the growing popularity of
Illinois is considered a national leader in its attempts
to adopt blockchain technology, including exploring blockchain for use in the following government programs or
SNAP/TNF (food stamps)
The state has detailed its efforts in the “Illinois Blockchainand Distributed Ledger Task Force Final Report to the General Assembly” dated January 31, 2018. This report details both the
possibilities and the hurdles that Illinois could face from wider
adoption of blockchain solutions.
Delaware has instituted a pilot program whereby the
application of blockchain technology to its public archives
will allow the storage, distribution, encryption and
sunsetting of documents. Eventually, the pilot program will be expanded to allow the government to take additional
actions with the documents inclusive of the issuance of the
notice-of-lien and other official actions.
State Legislation Passed
At least 10 states — Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois,
Nevada, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington,
and Wyoming — have all passed blockchain related
Arizona passed legislation stating signatures in electronic
form cannot be denied legal effect. It also defines smart
contracts and blockchain technology.
Colorado passed legislation directing the state Office of
Information Technology to explore blockchain for a variety
of state data initiatives, including business licensing,
cybersecurity, and sharing data.
Delaware enacted legislation allowing corporations to use
blockchain to maintain corporate records, including stock
Illinois passed legislation creating the
Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Task
Force, which has recently released their first report.
Nevada has passed legislation banning local governments
from taxing blockchain use. Additionally, the law specifically
provides that blockchain should be afforded legal
recognition to electronic records.
New Hampshire passed legislation that exempts digital
currency from the state’s money transmission regulation.
Tennessee enacted legislation to recognize the legal
authority to use distributed ledger technology and smart
contracts in conducting electronic transactions.
Vermont enacted legislation that would
allow for broader business and legal application of
Washington passed legislation requiring virtual currency to
be subject to the money transmitter laws.
Wyoming adopted several pieces of legislation related to
cryptocurrencies that lawmakers said were aimed at making
the state “a blockchain-friendly environment for businesses.”
The measures exempted the buying, selling, issuing and
transfer of cryptocurrency from licensure requirements;
exempted some cryptocurrency developers from state
securities and money transmissions laws; exempted
cryptocurrency from state taxation; and authorized
corporations to use a blockchain to create, record and store
Legislation Under Consideration: A Sampling
New York is exploring various bills including the creation of a
task forces to study the potential impacts of blockchain; the
creation of a state-issued cryptocurrency; the legalization
of electronic signatures secured through blockchain; and
directing the state Board of Elections to examine the use of
blockchain in elections.
Vermont is considering a bill implementing rules for
blockchain-based limited liability companies organized for
the purpose of using blockchain for a material portion of
their business activities.
Virginia is evaluating legislation to assess the impact of
cryptocurrencies on the taxpayers.
Other states with blockchain-related legislation under
consideration include Hawaii, Florida, Nebraska, NewJersey, Washington, and West Virginia.
VIII. Public Sector Blockchain Adoption
Blockchain technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and there is a general agreement that
blockchain can be used to improve the way the government currently does business.
But as more public sector leaders begin experimenting with and investing in blockchain
technology, there are several business, organizational, technological, and human capital
considerations that should be addressed before adopting blockchain.
Adopting the Right Procedures
When a public sector organization seeks to experiment with
blockchain, their first step is typically to identify a business
problem that will demonstrate the power of blockchain over
traditional databases or transaction systems. This can be
challenging for two reasons:
In order to design an appropriate blockchain solution, there
must be a significant level of understanding of blockchain
platforms that are suitable for the problem at hand, and
there should also be a significant level of understanding of
the current process itself. Finding the right technical and
functional talent to manage and execute a government
blockchain project is a major challenge government leaders
are facing today and will likely depend on public-private
partnerships or a project solicitation.
This balance of functional, technical, and business talent is
Once a clear business problem is defined, the next step is to
determine which stakeholders are involved in the current process
and whether or not a consortium is beneficial or required
in order to establish a minimum viable blockchain ecosystem.
Pulling together the right players to build a consortium
is no easy task. Public sector leaders need tonow come
together to strategically design a network not only based
on their functional interests, but now also based on the
common needs of a partnership. Blockchain is a team sport,
and to many in government who are used to the concept of
sole ownership and responsibility when it comes to their
data and business processes, this new operating model will
take some getting used to.
Blockchain technology has tremendous promise for a wide
variety of public sector uses and has the ability to process a large
volume of transactions or data in a relatively short period of time.
However, scalability is still an issue when it comes to integrating
very large databases or processing extremely high volumes
of data at one time. And the larger the blockchain, the more
cumbersome it can be to process transactions.
While scalability solutions are forthcoming from a variety of
developers, public sector leaders should consider the size of the
project when evaluating whether a blockchain solution is the
Challenges persist whenever an organization shifts to new technological
capabilities. For example, the federal government has
a mixed record in integrating cloud computing into its systems,
despite a February 2011 White House policy to put “Cloud First.”
But the program ran into several problems along the way:
Failure in some instances to assess and articulate the
security benefits and risks to specific cloud computing
Failure to articulate to end user employees the benefits of
the technology and the return on investment; and
Failure to provide adequate skills training on how to use the
Despite the establishment of the Federal Risk and Authorization
Management Program (FedRAMP) as a government-wide program
to provide a standardized approach to security assessment,
authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products
and services, the program was viewed by some vendors and
contractors as a barrier to entry to the federal marketplace.
Additionally, a significant component of changing technological
applications is in ensuring that the workforce has the proper
skills and training to operate and manage the technology.
Cloud computing transformations at the federal level ran into
significant barriers from workforce challenges.
When deciding to implement blockchain technology into new
programs, it will be imperative that organizations do the following:
Highlight and clearly define for employees the cyber
capabilities of blockchain technology;
Clearly articulate to employees the potential and actual
return on investment for investments in emerging
technologies, such as blockchain;
Provide end user employees with adequate training to
ensure they can use the technology properly and efficiently.
Government leaders have recognized the importance of
balancing regulation with innovation. Given how new the
technology is, early restrictions on blockchain innovators could
hinder the technology’s greatest potential.
Regulation in the blockchain space is inconsistent or nonexistent,
but in the cryptocurrency space, the Securities and Exchange
Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission
have begun asserting their jurisdiction.
Still, it is not yet clear whether regulation will be driven top
down (Federal → State) or bottom up (State → Federal). Part of
the challenge comes from the need to anticipate downstream
consequences based on where the technology is headed in order
to make well-informed decisions. Due to the current volatility
and rapid evolution of the underlying technology, it remains
difficult to speculate what exactly the government’s role will be,
particularly when it comes to blockchain applications that are not
tied or are loosely tied to cryptocurrency.
Across all layers of government, leaders are struggling to
understand the risks associated with the integration of
blockchain and their existing IT systems. The spectrum of privacy
and security challenges today are not well-identified and cover
areas including access key management, corrupt oracles, and
Law Enforcement Considerations
Criminal elements, including terrorist financing, money
laundering and tax evasion, remain a troubling aspect of
the cryptocurrency space of blockchain technology. The
pseudo-anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions
on the blockchain still allows criminal elements to mask illicit
transactions and fund their malicious activities.
While some may debate whether criminal law should be altered
to ensure law enforcement access to unfiltered blockchain
information, current laws, particularly those related to fraud, are
being used by federal officials to go after many bad actors.
The Internal Revenue Service and other law enforcement agencies
have made some strides in unmasking illicit activity by serving
cryptocurrency exchanges with summonses to reveal their
customers and in tracking IP addresses to identify tax scofflaws
and other criminal elements. The SEC has similarly taken several
enforcement actions against fraudulent cryptocurrency offerings
using current laws.
IX. Policy Recommendations
1. Federal Blockchain Stakeholders Advisory Group
To facilitate the maturation of blockchain technology,
CompTIA recommends that Congress create a
working group of federal stakeholders to provide
recommendations to Congress on how to plan and
encourage the growth of blockchain technology.
The working group, which would consist of private industry,
academia, non-profits, and trade associations, would be
responsible for examining the following aspects of the
blockchain technology ecosystem:
Current and Future Security Requirements
As the blockchain ecosystem grows, so do threats to the
ecosystem. Advances in quantum computing call for a focus
on secure quantum computing encryption. NIST recently held
a competition for quantum resistance. It will be critical for
cyber requirements to be in lockstep with the emergence of
The Regulatory Environment
As blockchain becomes more prevalent in both the federal
and state marketplaces, it will be important to ensure a
nurturing environment for this nascent technology. The
current regulatory environment should be adjusted to make
it more friendly and adaptable for emerging technologies to
experiment and innovate.
Standards and Interoperability
In order for blockchain technology to have the potential to
grow, the industry should develop standards for blockchain
and distributed ledger technology (DLT) terminology as a
means to clarify definitions in the sector and set a platform
for the development of other related standards. Once
terminology surrounding blockchain and DLT has been
determined, privacy, security, and identity issues can then be
collectively addressed through the development of one or a
suite of standards.
Defined Marketplace and Potential for
In order to assure the continued adoption of blockchain
technology, it will be critical for end users to share best
practices, case studies, and return-on-investment stories to
help the nascent industry grow.
The Current Use of Blockchain Technology by
Federal agencies already have implemented various
blockchain technology projects. To fully benefit from
blockchain technology, federal agencies need to consider
the following five requirements related to the use of
blockchain technology: (1) technological expertise; (2)
funding necessary for implementing blockchain technology
projects; (3) architectural plans on how to implement
blockchain technology projects; (4) red tape/culture; and (5)
interoperability, privacy, and security. The working group
should discuss these challenges and propose approaches for
2. Regulatory Sandboxes
To incentivize more innovation and experimentation in
blockchain technology, developers and companies need to be
assured that the risk/reward balance is favorable.
To help manage risk, drive economic development
and develop a strong regulatory regime, CompTIA
recommends that the federal government and state
governments consider creating a blockchain and
emerging technology “regulatory sandbox.”
This type of sandbox is an environment that should be
established by a known regulator. It allows early blockchain
adopters and innovators to operate in a controlled, regulated
environment without fear of regulatory sanctions. A
regulatory sandbox can make it possible to achieve a balance
between the fast-paced innovation that typifies blockchain
and the need for a risk-free development environment.
These sandboxes provide a set of pre-approved, published
rules that allow innovators to test their products and
business models. The rules help limit exposure and provide
best practices and steps for testing innovative practices.
Sandboxes provide a way for regulators and law enforcement
to develop policies that govern blockchain technology as well
as police the industry for malicious actors and scam artists.
Many other countries, and some states, have implemented
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) established
a regulatory sandbox for blockchain and other emerging
technologies in 2016. In its 2017 assessment of the
program, the FCA stated, “Early indications suggest the
sandbox is providing the benefits it set out to achieve
with evidence of the sandbox enabling new products to
be tested, reducing time and cost of getting innovative
ideas to market, improving access to finance for
innovators, and ensuring appropriate safeguards are
built into new products and services.”
The Bank of Thailand also established a regulatory
sandbox in 2016 with the goal of encouraging
innovation in fintech and providing consumers with
better and faster access to financial tools and from
more diverse sources. Fourteen Thai banks joined
together to take advantage of the sandbox and
launched their blockchain platform for administering
letters of guarantee in July 2017.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission Sandbox, established in 2017, allows “eligible fintech
businesses to test certain specified services for up to
12 months without an Australian financial services or
credit license.” It provides for “three broad options”
for product testing or operating a service without
a license, including “relying on existing statutory
exemptions or flexibility in the law – such as by acting
on behalf of an existing licensee; relying on ASIC’s
‘fintech licensing exemption’ for the testing of certain
specified products and services; and for other services,
relying on individual relief from ASIC.”
In the United States, Arizona has instituted the first state wide regulatory sandbox. This particular
sandbox, which was established by law in March 2018,
is focused on emerging tech and the financial services
sector, and it will take effect later this year. Under the
program, companies will be able to test their products
for up to two years and serve as many as 10,000
customers before needing to apply for formal licensure.
The state of Illinois is also considering a regulatory sandbox. The Regulatory Sandbox Act (SB3133)
is currently making its way through the Illinois
X. Pilot toolkit
One of the best ways to get started using blockchain is to work with a consultant or
well-educated individuals who understand four elements related to the intended project:
1. The reason why your organization would need blockchain.
2. The workings of the blockchain protocol and technological framework options.
3. Your organization’s information technology (IT) environment.
4. How to develop sophisticated applications.
One of the best ways to get started is to create a pilot toolkit.
This toolkit would be composed of:
A synopsis of the organization’s needs.
Why blockchain is a viable solution.
Whether there are non-blockchain solutions that are
available and effective.
A recommendation of a particular blockchain framework.
A discussion of the need for resources, including:
Support staff, including legal, leadership, as well as
Blockchain Policy Frameworks
One of the more important factors in beginning a pilot
blockchain project is choosing the blockchain, or framework,
that is right for your organization. From a technological
standpoint, it will be important for organizations to look at
the pros and cons of various available frameworks.
Frameworks can be “permissioned” or “permissionless.” For
the public sector, a permissioned framework is generally
recommended, because it allows the creators of a blockchain
to determine the entities or individuals who can write to
a blockchain, view it, or interact with it in any way. Most
frameworks that focus on the finance industry, supply
chain management, and other business solutions allow the
blockchain creators to set permissions. Bitcoin and many
other publicly traded cryptocurrencies are “permissionless.”
Many frameworks already exist, including:
Hyperledger Fabric, Indy or Sawtooth (www.hyperledger.org): A series of projects led by the Linux Foundation
that provide myriad frameworks for consensus building
(Fabric), centralized identity (Indy), and distributed ledgers
(Sawtooth). A cross-industry framework. Permissioned.
Ethereum (www.ethereum.org): A leading platform for
building smart contracts, supply chain management,
and, of course, the Ether cryptocurrency. A cross-industry
J.P. Morgan Quorum (https://www.jpmorgan.com/global/Quorum): A financial services framework. Focuses
on implementing solutions for high-volume transactions.
Multichain (www.multichain.com): Ideal for
implementing a private blockchain. Cross-industry, but
does not support smart contracts. Permissioned.
Ripple (https://ripple.com): A financial services
framework. Ideal for creating global payment systems
via blockchain. Permissioned.
R3 Corda (www.r3.com): Focuses on creating various
solutions via blockchain, including cryptocurrency,
finance, commerce, smart contracts and supply chain
Public blockchains have an entity that governs the creation
of the framework. Generally, the creators of the framework
govern their own frameworks. Quorum, however, is run by
both J.P. Morgan and Ethereum; it was developed to allow
Ethereum to provide a permissioned blockchain framework.
The aforementioned frameworks tend to be specific to an
industry sector need. For example, organizations interested
in supply chain management and smart contracts may
want to consider using Ethereum or Hyperledger as their
framework of choice. If financial transactions are paramount,
then a framework such as R3 Corda or J.P. Morgan Quorum
would be preferable. Consult carefully with reputable
developers and blockchain consultants.
Regardless of which is used, all blockchain frameworks use
a consensus algorithm to prevent the problem of “double
spending,” which is a set of coins is spent in more than one
transaction, or where two conditions exist that can cause a
smart contract to fail. Consensus algorithms include:
Proof of work: Any mining-oriented blockchain, including
Bitcoin and Ethereum. The first algorithm used.
Byzantine Fault Tolerance: Uses special entities called
“validators” (also called “generals”) to manage the
blockchain. Validators exchange messages between each
other to ensure consensus.
Proof of Stake: Instead of mining coins, this algorithm
focuses on who has obtained a portion of the coins.
Decentralized acyclic graph (DAG): Used to model
information to achieve consensus.
When developing your own pilot toolkit, your organization
should look to the above considerations. Implementing
blockchain will require experts in each area. You may be able
to hire these individuals. It is more likely, however, that you
will contract with an entity or obtain these services on an asneeded,
cloud and as-a-service basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was blockchain first created?
An anonymous person or group that goes by the name of
Satoshi Nakamoto proposed the first use of blockchain as we
now know it to develop and implement a trust mechanism
for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Satoshi’s white paper is
considered an essential first resource when understanding
blockchain and the possible services it can provide. You can
read Satoshi’s white paper here.
Does the United States Government advocate the
use of blockchain?
Several departments are considering the use of blockchain,
including: the General Services Administration, the
Department of State, the Department of Defense, the
Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of
Treasury. A bipartisan Blockchain Caucus was created in the
U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 as way to promote
innovation in the industry and look for blockchain solutions
that can be used for federal programs.
Does the use of blockchain allow illegal or
Blockchain technology in and of itself is legal to use in most
countries. The primary reason why blockchain would be
limited in any country is that it uses an encryption level, or
strength, that is not allowed in the country.
As with any technology, blockchain applications may be
targeted by malicious actors. Illegal and unethical uses of
cryptocurrencies, for example, is an issue regulators, such
as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity
Futures Trading Commission, have been tackling. But in and
of itself, blockchain is considered legal and proper to use in
most parts of the world.
Is blockchain the same thing as Bitcoin?
No. Blockchain is an enabling technology that can be used
in many different situations. Bitcoin is an example of a
cryptocurrency that is powered by blockchain. Blockchain
is a distributed, digital ledger that records transactions
permanently, chronologically, and usually in a public manner.
What is a “smart contract?”
A smart contract is a computer protocol intended to digitally
facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance
of a contract. Smart contracts do not need third parties to
validate their accuracy or authenticity.
Is there a single blockchain?
No. It is possible for any individual organization or person to
create their own blockchain application. Cryptocurrencies
such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Zcash, for example, have
Are there public and private blockchains?
Yes. It is possible to create a public, or permissionless,
blockchain, which allows everyone to see and participate
in the transactions. Permissionless blockchains are popular
among cryptocurrencies. It also is possible to create a private,
or permissioned, blockchain, which allows only certain
individuals to participate. For more information, consult the
Is blockchain really secure?
There is no such thing as a technology that is completely foolproof.
The hashing algorithms and techniques found in the
blockchain protocol are at least as secure as well-regarded
encryption technologies, such as Transport Layer Security
(TLS), which is used to encrypt transactions when you use
your Web browser to make a purchase, or technologies to
create the Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections that
many use to connect securely to their company resources.
Some consumers of cryptocurrencies have fallen victim to
well-publicized security issues involving “wallet software”
used to conduct transactions. But these hacks generally
involve ancillary elements, and not the blockchain itself.
The software used to create specific blockchain interfaces is
created by people, and people make mistakes. But bug fixes and
workarounds will most likely solve specific, tactical problems.
Several theoretical attacks on blockchain have been
publicized. These include the Finney Attack (a “double spend”
attack), and the “Greater than 50%” attack. Still, the vast
majority of organizations consider current blockchain uses to
be secure and trustworthy.
Does a blockchain have to have a publicly traded
token or coin?
No. While issuing coins or tokens is a common method that
finance and payment systems use to drive public adoption of
their specific blockchain project or cryptocurrency, private, or
permissioned, blockchains do not require tokens or coins to
be traded in order for the system to be secured.
Relevant Blockchain Research
Our nation’s colleges and universities have been a hotbed for
blockchain innovation, with dozens of blockchain labs spread
throughout the United States. Here is a sampling of the latest
in blockchain research in higher education.
Arizona State University
ASU Blockchain Research Lab – ASU has partnered with digital
currency provider DASH on their blockchain research lab.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Blockchain Papers and Projects at MIT – MIT has released
a selection of papers and studies being done on blockchain
University of California at Berkeley
Blockchain at Berkeley – Berkeley hosts a users’ group
focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Duke Blockchain Lab – Duke hosts a student-run organization
aimed at promoting blockchain adoption.
Purdue Blockchain Lab – Purdue’s lab received a $1.5 million
grant from an Australian company to support blockchain
research and development.
George Mason University
Masters Course – George Mason offers a class to Masterscomputer science student on blockchain technologies.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has
created a draft document entitled “Blockchain Technology
Overview.” It is categorized as NISTR 8202. You can read the
draft document at the following locations:
It contains an authoritative and relatively concise
understanding of blockchain. You can also consult additional
A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Blockchain (Forbes
Deloitte’s 2018 Outlook Highlights the Growth of Blockchain
Technology (Nasdaq Article): https://www.nasdaq.com/article/deloittes-2018-outlook-highlights-the-growth-ofblockchain-technology-cm897934
Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
Digital Chamber of Commerce
NASCIO “Blockchains: Moving Digital Government
Forward in the States
Illinois Blockchain Initiative
CompTIA “Understanding Emerging Technology
Blockchain Research Brief
Congressional Blockchain Caucus
Nakamoto White Paper
World Economic Forum “Realizing the Potential of
Blockchain a Multi-Stakeholder Approach to the
Stewardship of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies” June
2017 White Paper
Austin Blockchain Collective
GSA U.S. Emerging Citizen Technology Atlas
Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy. Melanie Swan.
Oreilly publishing. ISBN: 13: 978-1491920497
Mastering Bitcoin. 2nd Edition. Andreas M. Antonopoulos.
Blockchain: Ultimate guide to understanding blockchain,
bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and the future
of money. Mark Gates. ISBN: 1547090685
Glossary of Terms
Blockchain: A method for recording
transactional information. Rather than keeping
a record of all transactions in a central location,
blockchain utilizes a distributed ledger. For a
given activity, a copy of the full ledger with all transactions is
kept on each node in a distributed network.
Block Height: The number of blocks connected
together in the blockchain. The first block is
considered the “genesis” block.
Chain Linking: Connecting two blockchains together,
allowing communication and transactions to occur.
Consensus: A process used to achieve
agreement on the accuracy and value of the
data in a distributed ledger, while enabling the
acceptance or rejection of changes across the
Cryptographic Hash: The digital fingerprint
Cryptography: The conversion of data
into a secret code for transmission over a
Cryptocurrency: A digital asset designed to work
as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography
to secure its transactions, to control the creation
of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.
Distributed Ledger: A digital system for
recording, storing and sharing data across
multiple nodes, with no centralized database or
Node: Any computer that connects to the
blockchain network and tests/validates
Permissionless, or Publicly, Distributed Ledgers:
Enables all participants with a node on the
network to contribute data to the network, with
all participants possessing an identical copy of
the ledger. Best used when there is little to no trust between
Permissioned, or Privately, Distributed Ledgers:
Enables only pre-selected, trusted participants
access to the ledger. Only trusted participants
can verify new content. Best used for inter/intra
Smart Contracts: A computer protocol intended
to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the
negotiation or performance of a contract. Smart
contracts do not need third parties to validate
their accuracy or authenticity.