Even with the latest hiccup in cryptocurrency valuations, I don’t think there’s been a faster-appreciating asset on the planet. Since the beginning of 2017, the aggregate cryptocurrency market cap has vaulted from less than $18 billion to more than $300 billion, which is one heck of a return in less than 15 months.

At the heart of this rally is the emergence of blockchain technology. For those unfamiliar with blockchain, it refers to the digital, distributed, and decentralized ledger often underlying digital currencies that’s responsible for logging all transactions without the need for a financial intermediary (i.e., a bank).

Blockchain itself was brought into the spotlight in 2009 when bitcoin debuted. Its evolution is expected to be a game changer for the financial services industry, which has a handful of perceived flaws, including long validation and settlement times for cross-border remittances, and higher transaction fees as a result of banks acting as third parties during transactions.

Blockchain aims to correct these issues in three ways. First, decentralization — storing data on servers and hard drives all over the world, rather than in one location — ensures that no single entity, including hackers and businesses, can gain control of a network.

Secondly, it simplifies the transaction to just a sender and receiver of funds. By taking banks out of the loop, it should lower transaction costs. Read more from host.madison.com…

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