Publication year: 2020
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In this book, Robert Townsend steps back from the hype and controversy surrounding DLT (and the related, but not synonymous, innovations of blockchain and Bitcoin) to offer an economic analysis of what distributed ledgers can do and a blueprint for the optimal design and regulation of financial systems. He analyzes four crucial components of distributed ledgers—ledgers as accounts, e-messages and e-value transfers, cryptography, and contracts—assessing each in terms of both economics and computer science, and forges some middle ground. Relatedly, Townsend highlights hybrid systems in which some of these components allow useful innovation while legacy or alternative pieces deal with the problem of scale.