NISTIR 8202, Blockchain Technology Overview

December 4, 2018

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released its publication NISTIR 8202, Blockchain Technology Overview. This paper examines blockchain technology, examining methods of implementation, identifying and addressing limitations and misconceptions intended to explain the workings of blockchain technology to organizations and regulators. The paper is the product of extensive revisions in response to feedback provided during the public comment period.

Abstract: Blockchains are tamper evident and tamper resistant digital ledgers implemented in a distributed fashion (i.e., without a central repository) and usually without a central authority (i.e., a bank, company, or government). At their basic level, they enable a community of users to record transactions in a shared ledger within that community, such that under normal operation of the blockchain network no transaction can be changed once published. This document provides a high-level technical overview of blockchain technology. It discusses its application to cryptocurrency in depth, but also shows its broader applications. The purpose is to help readers understand how blockchain technology works, so that they can be applied to technology problems.

Authors: Dylan J. Yaga, Peter M. Mell, Nik Roby, Karen Scarfone

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