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Distributed Futures: Distributed Ledgers, Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin rely on cryptography and a decentralised peer-to-peer network. There are now over 600 identifiable alternative cryptocurrencies (also known as AltCoins), such as Ixcoin, Ripple, LiteCoin, Dogecoin, Primecoin or Riecoin.

The essential cryptocurrency innovation is a public blockchain that eliminates the need for a central counterparty to act as a third party to financial transactions. Trust in a counterparty changes to trust in the technology. Blockchain technology is interesting in that if provides a public ledger containing the full history of transactions, is secure and private and seems indestructible.  However, blockchain technology is only a subset of mutual distributed ledgers, a field in which Z/Yen pioneered in 1995.

Distributed ledgers technology are being applied to other sectors of activity including finance. Ideas for further applications include corporate voting, smart contracts, registries (ships, aircraft, tax, artworks etc.), identity blockchains for anti-fraud protection or anti-money laundering.

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Related projects

  • MetroGnomo – an open-source experimental timestamping service based on Z/Yen's ChainZy mutual distributed ledger technology. MetroGnomo’s replicated authoritative immutable ledger improves coordination, cooperation, integration and dispute resolution between firms through the provision of impartial timing information and unique universal identifiers. More Information...
  • IntereXchainZ: building on the successful InterChainZ project, IntereXchainZ extends mutual distributed ledgers to build a functioning marketplace More Information...
  • Distributed Futures Forum - a forum for senior people to meet and network with a group of their peers four times a year and share intelligence on mutual distributed ledgers, cyrptocurrencies, blockchains, FinTech, RegTech, and other interesting topics where disruptive technology meets finance. More information...
  • The Impact and Potential of Blockchain on the Securities Transaction Lifecycle - there is considerable interest in the potential use of ‘blockchain’ in the settlement of securities transactions.  Proponents argue that the use of cryptographic security tools to create blockchains (sequential, digitally signed and validated records of ownership) can allow almost instantaneous post-trade delivery against payment (DVP), thus radically simplifying post-trade processing and substantially reducing both costs and operational and liquidity risks.  The SWIFT Institute has commissioned Professor Michael Mainelli & Professor Alistair Milne, Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, to examine the impact and potential of blockchains and mutual distributed ledgers on the lifecycle of securities transactions. More information...

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