A new book about the technology behind bitcoin refreshingly looks at possibilities beyond currency and finance. “Blockchain Revolution” shows the versatility of the distributed-ledger concept – essentially, a database kept complete and accurate thanks to cross-checking by a network of computer users – from improving democratic processes through more secure voting to making humanitarian aid more effective. The potential is eye-opening, even if the presentation is at times a bit wide-eyed.

Aside from association with the bitcoin cryptocurrency, blockchain ideas have mainly emerged in the realm of finance. Authors Don Tapscott and his son, Alex Tapscott, nod to that connection. An immediate, immutable record of exchanges of data, money, goods or services offers a cost-cutting and security-enhancing opportunity for Wall Street. Certain transactions that now require clearing through third parties could be handled instantly and without a middleman with a blockchain structure.

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