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The Business Blockchain by Vitalik Buterin, William Mougayar

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FOREWORD

THIS DECADE IS AN INTERESTING time for the development of decentralized technologies. Although cryptographers, mathematicians and coders have been working on increasingly specific and advanced protocols in order to get stronger and stronger privacy and authenticity guarantees out of various systems—from electronic cash to voting to file transfer—progress was slow for over 30 years. The innovation of the blockchain—or, more generally, the innovation of public economic consensus by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009—proved to be the one missing piece of the puzzle that single-handedly gave the industry its next giant leap forward.

The political environment seemed to almost snap into place: the great financial crisis in 2008 spurred growing distrust in mainstream finance, including both corporations and the governments that are normally supposed to regulate them, and was the initial spark that drove many to seek out alternatives. Then Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013, highlighting how active the government was in realms citizens once believed private, were the icing on the cake. Even though blockchain technologies specifically have not seen mainstream adoption as a result, the underlying spirit of decentralization to a substantial degree has.

Applications ranging from Apple's phones to WhatsApp have started building in forms of encryption that are so strong that even the company writing the software and managing the servers cannot break it. For those who prefer corporations ...

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