Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain… So what does it all mean?

Money is no object.  

Some of the noise is hype, but some of it points to important forces in the financial services industry. To help you make sense of it, we’ve pulled together content explaining why a lot of industry observers are paying close attention.

Let’s start with some quick definitions.  is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency (among other things).  is the name of the best-known cryptocurrency, the one for which blockchain technology was invented. A  is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar, but is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds. BlockchainBitcoincryptocurrency

A look at blockchain technology

What is it?

 is a decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Using this technology, participants can confirm transactions without a need for a central clearing authority. Potential applications can include fund transfers, settling trades, voting and many other issues.The blockchain

Blockchain also has potential applications far beyond bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Blockchain is, quite simply, a  that keeps a record of all transactions that take place across a peer-to-peer network. The major innovation is that the technology allows market participants to transfer assets across the internet without the need for a centralized third, decentralized ledger

From a business perspective, it’s helpful to think of blockchain technology as a type of next-generation business process improvement software. Collaborative technology, such as blockchain, promises the ability to improve the business processes that occur  companies, radically lowering the “cost of trust.” For this reason, it may offer significantly higher returns for each investment dollar spent than most traditional internal investments.between

Financial institutions are exploring how they could also use blockchain technology to upend everything from clearing and settlement to insurance.

, start with “” This paper, from PwC’s Financial Services Institute, focuses on cryptocurrency. We explain where it came from, how much consumers know about it and use it, what it will take for the market to grow and what the regulators think. We also look at how market participants, such as investors, technology providers and financial institutions, will be affected.For an overview of cryptocurrency

, take a look at these two short articles:For some quick background on blockchain The first Q&A provides some examples of the  implemented by financial institutions and an overview of the challenges and opportunities that blockchain presents for the industry. innovative uses of blockchain The second Q&A discusses the  and how it has been used and developed. trends that have shaped blockchain technology

, read “.” This article, from, examines the potential benefits of this important innovation—and also suggests a way forward for financial institutions. Put simply, proceed deliberately. Explore how others might try to disrupt your business with blockchain technology, and how your company could use it to leap ahead instead. In all cases, link your investments to your value proposition, and give your business partners and your customers what they want most: speed, convenience and control over their transactions.For a deeper dive into blockchain’s implicationsA strategist’s guide to blockchain strategy+business

 check out . This short series of articles explore how blockchains, both public and private, have triggered a global hunt for ways to remove friction from transaction-related processes, including the process of reaching contractual agreements. Learn about the precursors, challenges and future outlook of implementing smart contracts. We also chat with Gideon Greenspan of Coin Sciences to learn about his views on the legal ramifications of public blockchains and why companies are seeking alternatives.For a peek into the application of blockchains for smart contracts,“Blockchain and smart contract automation”

When a technology moves so quickly, it’s dangerous to sit on the sidelines. We’re watching blockchain move from a startup idea to an established technology in a tiny fraction of the time it took for the internet or even the PC to be accepted as a standard tool. Blockchain technology could result in a radically different competitive future for the financial services industry. These articles will help you understand these changes—and what you should do about them.


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