The U.S. think-tank Consumers’ Research has just released the Bretton Woods White Paper, which consists of input from digital currency executives, developers and regulators concerning emerging technologies. Gathered at the site of the Mount Washington Resort, the group produced an 85-page report discussing Bitcoin and its underlying platform. The review was released in Miami at The North American Bitcoin Conference by Research executive director Joe Colangelo.
According to Colangelo, the paper’s primary focus has three essential attributes:
- Serve to inform those new to Bitcoin and blockchain technology of opportunities they may not have considered previously.
- Better inform members of the Bitcoin community of potential hurdles that may impede their ability to effect change, which they may not have realized.
- Serve as a primary document for how industry experts viewed Bitcoin and blockchain technologies in the year 2015.
Bretton Woods White Paper: Multiple Facets of the Digital Currency Ecosystem
The Bretton Woods White Paper goes over quite a bit of information on Bitcoin and blockchain technology within its pages, featuring key players in the industry and the opportunities the technology provides. The subjects in the downloadable PDF include blockchain technology in general, smart contracts, identity solutions, game theory and microtransactions. These tiny transactions are viewed as being possibly able to change the financial landscape and internet model worldwide. Sending small transactions has become significantly popular idea but costs today with certain companies like Paypal are still very high. The paper reveals distributed ledgers allow an efficient and low-cost way to leap over this problem it states:
“For decades, various parties have attempted to employ micropayments via the Internet as a way to incentivize the direct transfer of value from party to party. However, due to the nature of financial institutions and the limited technology present during the Internet’s formation, the development and adoption of micropayments was stunted. Today, blockchain technology enables microtransactions down to minute fractions of pennies, thus enabling us to revisit the idea of micropayments over the Internet.”— The Bretton Woods White Paper
The Bretton Woods workshop included members of the MIT Media Lab, the president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, and many other contributors. One well-known crypto-community member listed in the paper was Nick Szabo an early contributor to the Bitcoin environment. Szabo adds quite a bit of his smart contract research to the journal and how the technology can work with extensive legal frameworks. The pioneer who was once accused of being Satoshi Nakamoto writes:
“The formalizations of our relationships—especially contracts—provide the blueprint for ideal security.”— Nick Szabo
Blockchain-based identity is another great use case highlighted in the paper and co-authored by workshop participant Alicia Carmona, of Identity 2020. The opportunities for identity solutions issued over a distributed ledger application the document says is “set to expand rapidly into broad applicability, in a massively disruptive and world-changing manner.” Blockchain technology can be used towards a massive array of record keeping sectors including property ownership, lending, human rights and any form of “quantifiable human capital (i.e., financial, social, educational, political, etc.)”
During the end of the paper, it gets into detail about the threat Bitcoin may impose on law enforcement and also the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations. It explains its purpose to help authorities understand it by saying, “by helping law enforcement continue to advance along its learning curve and helping address government concerns about this technology, the participants in the Bitcoin ecosystem can help make the blockchain more secure and deter its use for unlawful purposes.” However, the paper seems to recognize that the technology is borderless, and this kind of protocol has the potential for disrupting the traditional way finances are handled worldwide.
The paper will be sent to congressional offices and industry executives to learn about the emerging technology. It discusses many of the challenges the protocol faces today including regulation, criminal activity and the volatility of Bitcoin’s price. It also quickly details the immense growth of infrastructure and the current block size debate. The Bretton Woods White Paper believes Satoshi’s paper may have been left for a reason saying,”Nakamoto’s release of Bitcoin came one month after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, setting the stage for the 2008 financial crisis. While it isn’t clear whether this timing was intentional, it certainly came at a time when many people were losing trust in centralized currency and methods of controlling money.”
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