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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Blockchain can enable parties with no particular trust in each other to exchange digital data on a peer-to-peer basis with fewer or no third parties or intermediaries. Data could correspond, for instance, to money, insurance policies, contracts, land titles, medical and educational records, birth and marriage certificates, buying and selling goods and services, or any transaction or asset that can be translated into a digital form. The potential of blockchain to engender wide-ranging changes in the economy, industry and society – both now and tomorrow – is currently being explored across sectors and by a variety of organisations. This report provides multidimensional insights into the state of blockchain technology by identifying ongoing and upcoming transformations in a range of sectors and setting out an anticipatory approach for further exploration. Moving beyond the hype and debunking some of its controversies, we aim to offer both an in-depth and practical understanding of blockchain and its possible applications.