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The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust

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The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust

MIT Press,

15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Blockchain forces users to re-evaluate the concept of trust in commercial transactions.

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Ask a sample of CEOs and government officials about innovation, and invariably the topic of blockchain will come up. The technology is already at work in health care, finance, supply chain management and more, but professor Kevin Werbach assesses the landscape and future of blockchain from the perspective of its governance. He examines how stakeholders are advancing the technology amid calls by many to police it. Officials, executives and business owners will find this a broad look at a pioneering development in commerce and society.


Blockchain is redefining the concept of trust in social, financial and governmental interactions.

In 2009, someone working under the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto introduced bitcoin as a new payment and transaction network based on the novel concept of a blockchain. But the roots of the idea of a distributed ledger reach far back into the earliest days of the New York Stock Exchange, when 24 traders gathered under the branches of a Manhattan buttonwood tree in 1792. Their agreement on how to trade stocks and bonds relied on a core element crucial to doing business in a public marketplace: the trust among individuals.

The idea of the distributed ledger centers on a decentralized platform that allows users to transact, record and process information without interference from other parties and free from a centralized governing authority. The distributed ledger platform couldn’t exist without stakeholders believing in its efficacy, reliability, accuracy and immutability. The technology of blockchain touches on a range of  disciplines, including computer science, ...

About the Author

Kevin Werbach is a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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