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Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers in Retrospective and Perspective
We introduce blockchains and distributed ledgers and describe their potential applications to money and banking. The analysis compares public and private ledgers and outlines the suitability of various types of ledgers for di¤erent purposes. Furthermore, a few historical prototypes of blockchains and distributed ledgers are presented, and results of their hard forking are illustrated. Next, some potential applications of distributed ledgers to trading, clearing and settlement, payments, trade finance, etc. are outlined. Monetary circuits are argued to be natural applications for blockchains. Finally, the role of digital currencies in modern society is articulated and various forms of digital cash, such as central bank issued electronic cash, bank money, cryptocurrencies and P2P money, are compared and contrasted.
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