16 June 2021: In a report recently released by the World Economic Forum, a number of authors and prominent members of the cryptocurrency community put together a beginner's guide targeting institutions and future investors whom may be interested in entering the cryptocurrency or blockchain investment space. The guide covers a number of broad, key areas of interest to new investors, including how to appropriately purchase cryptocurrencies, how blockchain technology works, and the programmability, scalability, governance, and potential regulatory factors of the space as it continues to develop and expand.
World Economic Forum (WEF)
The World Economic Forum is an independent & non-profit organization that engages in public-private cooperation. WEF is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and states that their mission is ultimately to uphold the "highest standards of governance"and always ensure "moral and intellectual integrity". WEF states that their key areas of focus are in three distinct subjects. Those subjects are mastering the fourth industrial revolution, solving the problems of the global commons, and finally addressing global security issues.
Global Future Council on Cryptocurrencies - Summary of Guide
In addition to the World Economic Forum, numerous individuals working or investing within cryptocurrency and blockchain projects also assisted in the making of this document. Some notable contributors on the document are Jill Carlson (Open Money Initiative), Marvin Ammori (Uniswap), Denelle Dixon (Stellar), Christine Moy (JPMorgan), and others.
The guide serves as an introduction into the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The first major section that is covered is the purchasing of cryptocurrencies and the various options that an investor may have. The document covers typical rates on centralized exchanges where cryptocurrencies may be purchased as well as the over-the-counter purchase options that have "better liquidity and lower fees" for institutional investors.
Blockchain is covered next and hits on some very crucial areas of the technology, starting with how information on the blockchain can be accessed and utilized for means of confirmation of legitimacy. In addition to this, the guide also briefly covers some broad information regarding pseudonymity (blockchain-based identifies are not directly linked to real world information) as well as privacy options when utilizing blockchain.
This section of the guide also gives an overview of other key interest areas, including the implications of running a node, an overview of different consensus mechanisms, examples of network attacks such as a 51% attack, and a look into actual energy consumption.
Programmability & Ethereum
This section heavily focuses on the Ethereum network. Per the guide, they describe Ethereum as "the first, and most widely used,
blockchain that allows for the development of programmable applications which operate on its network." The guide proceeds to cover the key sections of any programmable blockchain network with sections on smart contracts, Ethereum's Solidity programming language, an overview of ETHER (ETH) & how it is utilized for transaction or 'gas' fees, and finally a look into decentralized applications (dApps) & how programmable networks like Ethereum allows for the construction of large scale, interconnected blockchain-based web applications, different from the Bitcoin network.
A short section on network governance and how different governance protocols, such as 1 coin 1 vote, are utilized on the blockchain to keep governance of these different networks as decentralized as possible. This section also includes multiple links to different sources, such as an overview of Ethereum governance, 0x governance, and different examples of open-source governance strategies.
These links are all provided below as well as in the complete guide in the Summary & Closing section:
Open Source Guides - Leadership and Governance
Zwitter & Hazenberg - Decentralized Network Governance: Blockchain Technology & The Future of Regulation
EtHub - Governance on Ethereum
Scalability, Prominent Network Examples, & Regulation
Within this section, the World Economic Forum chose to a handful of different networks & protocols to demonstrate the scalability of certain blockchain networks. Notably, the networks that were chosen were Algorand (ALGO), Cardano (ADA), Celo, XRPL, Solana (SOL), and lastly Stellar (XLM). The description of these networks is provided from the guide below:
The final section covered within the World Economic Forum's cryptocurrency guide gives a broad overview of regulatory practices currently within crypto. It basically just covers historical considerations of cryptocurrency regulation and how there is still ongoing debate about the possibility of regulating and taxing crypto. The guide does state that "As cryptocurrencies are still an emerging financial instrument, regulation is constantly evolving" with recommendations to new institutional investors to "consult with [their] appropriate jurisdiction for updated regulation before starting a blockchain or cryptocurrency project."
Summary & Closing
Overall, the guide serves as a good introductory example to the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As an emerging, disruptive industry, institutions and organizations such as World Economic Forum covering blockchain demonstrates the robust ability for the novel technology to already peak the interest of large, international organizations, institutions, and investors.
REKTimes would like to encourage everyone reading this to go check out this guide for yourself, as well as the additional information available in the links above and within the guide itself.
The guide is available here.
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