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What is “staking”?

“Staking” is a loosely defined term in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Use (perhaps overuse) of the term to describe a variety of activities has resulted in confusion over the term’s meaning...

Understanding Bitcoin’s energy use

Why does Bitcoin consume electricity? Does energy usage increase with the number of transactions? Can we compare Bitcoin's energy usage to traditional payments technologies like credit cards? Are Bitcoin miners...

What are mixers and “privacy coins”?

Public blockchain cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are radically transparent at the protocol level: transactions are viewable and immutable to everyone forever on the blockchain ledger. They are not anonymous, but...

Hard Fork

The terms “fork” and “airdrop” are not straightforward, nor are they used consistently even within the cryptocurrency community. This backgrounder explains the topic with a lense toward what policymakers should...

Decentralized Exchange

Public blockchains have the potential to act as a potent equalizing force for the world by democratizing access to financial services in the same way that the internet has democratized...

51% Attack

If a single entity were to acquire control of over half of the mining power on the Bitcoin network, it would gain the ability to do certain things that would...

What is cryptocurrency good for?

Cryptocurrencies get a ton of buzz these days, even so, the real use cases of these new technologies are often glossed over. Most cryptocurrency discussion unfortunately leaves the reader with...

How do cryptocurrencies affect monetary policy?

Bitcoin’s continued market and cultural presence prompts many to ask questions about how cryptocurrencies may affect the undertaking of established monetary policy. Some worry that distributed digital currencies may undermine...

What is “open source” and why is it important?

The computer code undergirding each major cryptocurrency and open blockchain project is developed as open source software. Regulators and policymakers looking into cryptocurrencies but unfamiliar with open source software may...

Do you really need a blockchain for that?

Many different use cases have been proposed for blockchains, relating to financial assets, health records, identity management and supply chains. But when examined in the cold light of day, many...

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