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Bitcoin1 introduced blockchain technology (BCT) as the first solution for transferring value and ownership of digital assets without the use of any trusted third party. In its simplest form, the blockchain is a shared database where all transactions of a given asset are registered in cryptographically chained blocks of data in order to become immutable. The system does not require any central authority or any single trusted third party in order to eliminate the related counterparty risk. Further improvements of this technology have allowed the running of small programmes (i.e. smart contracts), which potentially enable trusted automation of contractual relations between trading parties. If the Internet permitted the exchange of information between peers, BCT has made it possible to exchange value. The consequences of this technical revolution are difficult to foresee and will probably generate great opportunities for all industries and human activities. All the largest financial services firms, for example, are planning to use BCT as a record of ownership and transaction in order to avoid the time-consuming reconciliation of each internal ledger in order to create a faster and safer system. Analysis suggests that this new technology could reduce banks’ infrastructure costs attributable to cross-border payments, securities trading and regulatory compliance by $15–20 billion per annum by 2022 (Santander InnoVenture 2015). Currently, the two most prominent companies in this sphere are R3 CEV (www.r3cev.com), a New York-based blockchain fin-tech that is already supported by more than 50 financial institutions, and Ripple Labs (https://ripple.com), which is looking to establish secure, instant and nearly free global financial transactions.