The stock market may have practically tripled its historic returns in 2017, but compared with the cryptocurrency market, it looked like a flat line. Last year, cryptocurrency market caps as a whole increased by more than 3,300%.

It would have taken the stock market decades to deliver similar returns. There were no shortage of catalysts, either, with news-driven events, partnerships, and a weaker U.S. dollar driving investors to take a chance on virtual currencies.

But standing head and shoulders above these catalysts was the rise of blockchain technology. Blockchain is the digital, distributed, and decentralized ledger that’s often tethered to cryptocurrencies and is responsible for recording all transactions without the need for a financial intermediary, like a bank.

Its evolution is a result of inefficiencies seen in the current banking system, such as banks pilfering fees as a third party during transactions, and payments taking days to settle, especially when made across borders. Blockchain, despite having numerous advantages, brings three critical benefits to the table that financial service companies should appreciate.

First, its decentralization is important. Rather than storing transaction data at a single source or server, this data is kept on hard drives and servers all over the world. Read more from…

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