Summary of The Hutchins Center Explains: How Blockchain Could Change the Financial System, Part 1

Brookings Institution,

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The Hutchins Center Explains: How Blockchain Could Change the Financial System, Part 1 summary
Cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology may fundamentally alter the global monetary structure.


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While most people may not yet have bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies in their online wallets, the possibility that these virtual monies will transform the worldwide payment regime is real. Underlying this digital legal tender is the advanced technology of blockchains and distributed ledgers. In this first of two informative reports (click here for part 2), David Wessel of the Brookings Institution explains what the two innovations entail, how they operate, and what potential opportunities as well as risks they portend. getAbstract considers this useful primer required reading for those who want to understand the implications of the distributed ledger.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why cryptocurrencies could change how people use money,
  • How the technology behind the distributed ledger could disrupt the traditional payment system, and
  • What benefits and risks accompany this model.


Global consumers and businesses may make cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin the most popular payment options in the future. But virtual currencies are just one facet of a broader technology transformation that, over time, may fundamentally upend the current framework of centralized payment systems controlled...
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About the Author

David Wessel is director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution.

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