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Blockchain: A Primer


  • Dwyer, Gerald P


The Bitcoin blockchain is the primary innovation in Bitcoin that makes it practical. Blockchains have applications in many contexts other than cryptocurrencies. This note is an introduction to blockchains that requires no prior knowledge, including of Bitcoin. Blockchains are ledgers of transactions kept by a set of participants, none of which is accorded special status as the “correct one.” Instead, agreement is reached by a process of consensus. I show how this works for Bitcoin, discuss applications in many alternative settings and provide some detail about a very different proof-of-concept application of blockchains by the Japan Exchange Group.

Suggested Citation

  • Dwyer, Gerald P, 2016. "Blockchain: A Primer," MPRA Paper 76562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:76562

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pieters, Gina & Vivanco, Sofia, 2017. "Financial regulations and price inconsistencies across Bitcoin markets," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-14.
    2. Anton Badev & Maria Baird & Timothy Brezinski & Clinton Chen & Max Ellithorpe & Linda Fahy & Vanessa Kargenian & Kimberley Liao & Brendan Malone & Jeffrey C. Marquardt & David C. Mills & Wendy Ng & An, 2016. "Distributed Ledger Technology in Payments, Clearing, and Settlement," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-095, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Brandvold, Morten & Molnár, Peter & Vagstad, Kristian & Andreas Valstad, Ole Christian, 2015. "Price discovery on Bitcoin exchanges," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 18-35.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Finance and the Blockchain: A Primer
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2018-05-14 11:37:17


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    1. Meegan, Andrew & Corbet, Shaen & Larkin, Charles & Lucey, Brian, 2021. "Does cryptocurrency pricing response to regulatory intervention depend on underlying blockchain architecture?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).

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    More about this item


    Blockchain; public distributed ledger; Bitcoin;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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