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Zero-Knowledge Proofs

With a zero-knowledge proof, a party can prove that a statement is true without revealing any information, except for whether it is indeed true or not. Their obvious benefit is privacy, and their obvious use is in blockchain applications, where privacy and efficiency still have a lot of room for improvement.

Last updated: 02-21-2024

Crypto Asset Mixers

What is a non-custodial crypto asset mixer? This article explores the types of mixers that exist (such as Tornado Cash), how they work, and their opportunities and risks. It also offers an approach, based on voluntary disclosure, that would allow financial market regulators to combat money laundering and illicit activities, while allowing honest users to interact with privacy-enhancing protocols.

Last updated: 02-21-2024

A Primer on Crypto Assets

Crypto assets still occupy news headlines and the minds of many consumers. While initially introduced as a payment system, crypto assets are seen by many as an enticing investment opportunity. Page One Economics® provides a basic explanation of crypto assets, blockchain technology, and the crypto universe.

Last updated: 02-21-2024

Decentralized Finance: More Financial Services to Move This Way?

Decentralized finance (DeFi) is an alternative financial infrastructure built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. DeFi uses smart contracts to create protocols that replicate existing financial services in a more open, interoperable, and transparent way. In this Review article, Fabian Schär highlights opportunities and potential risks of the DeFi ecosystem.

Last updated: 07-20-2021

Virtual Currency But a Real Ledger

There are 1,600 digital currencies, and they all use a consensus-based accounting system called distributed ledger technology (DLT). Some ledgers are open to anyone, but others are limited to trusted participants. Find out more about DLT and its promising applications for financial services. 

Last updated: 09-09-2019

No Cash Necessary

Digital wallets allow purchases and money transfers without the physical use of cash, checks, or credit/debit cards. Their use is growing—with younger consumers leading the way. Learn about types of digital payments and security features of digital wallets.

Last updated: 09-03-2019

Technology-Enabled Lending Is Growing

Loans that had required person-to-person interaction are increasingly being driven by methods that use analytics to “mine” data to determine qualified borrowers. Learn about the types of lenders using these methods and the risks involved.

Last updated: 08-26-2019

AI Enhancing Banking Services

Two branches of artificial intelligence—machine learning (processing of large amounts of data) and natural language processing (when a person talks to a computer)—are being used in the banking industry. Find out how these newer technologies are being applied and the risks involved.

Last updated: 08-19-2019

Fintech Is Financing Your Loans

Unsecured personal loans are growing, thanks to fintech lenders.

Last updated: 07-22-2019

Fintech Unfolds

How are financial technology, or "fintech," firms evolving?

Last updated: 03-01-2019

Is Bitcoin a Good Long-Term Investment Prospect?

The world of cryptocurrencies is expanding. How will more options affect their value? More competition could push down the purchasing power of all these currencies, even Bitcoin, despite its “first mover” advantage and well-established network of users. Read Economic Synopses for more about the crypto-landscape.

Last updated: 01-17-2019

Bitcoin: Beyond the Basics

In a recent St. Louis Fed podcast, Vice President of Research David Andolfatto talked blockchain, transparency, and the potential utility of government-sponsored cryptocurrencies.

Last updated: 09-06-2018

FRED Adds Cryptocurrency Series

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin price data are now available on FRED.

Last updated: 06-21-2018

Bitcoin: An Overview

Bitcoin has become a cultural and financial phenomenon, but what is it and is it a worthwhile investment? Senior Economic Education Specialist Scott Wolla provides an overview of Bitcoin and its possibilities.

Last updated: 03-05-2018

Central Banks and Cryptocurrency

Aleksander Berentsen and Fabian Schar examined cryptocurrency in the context of central banking. Central banks are unlikely to offer decentralized, anonymous transactions because of reputational risk. But cash could eventually disappear, and central banks could easily offer electronic accounts directly to households and businesses. 

Last updated: 02-28-2018

What Are Cryptocurrencies?

Aleksander Berentsen discusses the ideas and motivation behind cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, providing an explanation of the differences between traditional payments systems and cryptocurrencies and an explanation of Bitcoin transactions.

Last updated: 02-21-2018

A Primer on Blockchain

Blockchain differs from conventional record-keeping systems by achieving consensus through a community of anonymous agents who compete amongst themselves to authenticate transactions. The promise of the blockchain protocol is that it is invulnerable to human foibles. Novel, for sure; but is it worth all the effort?

Last updated: 02-21-2018

Where Does Bitcoin Fit In the Economy?

Do Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies play a useful social role, or do they represent a social waste? Steven Williamson explains what Bitcoin is, the role it can play in the economy, and whether or not these digital currencies should be supplied by central banks.

Last updated: 02-21-2018