How do you spend money? When you want to save money, where will you invest it? When you invest it, who processes your transactions?
Traditionally, the answers to all of these questions lies in established financial systems, dominated by traditional banking and regulatory institutions. However, within the past decade, a new, decentralized competitor—operating on global ledgers outside the reach of any state actor—has emerged on the scene: blockchain. While it began as a fringe movement, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies have rapidly gained steam in recent years, ballooning to market capitalizations that total in the trillions of dollars. However, in cryptocurrencies’ path toward adoption and normalization, one key question remains: How will governments embrace them?
From establishing hundreds of new national digital currencies to expanding cryptocurrencies in developmental economies to regulating the myriad of existing “coins,” deconstructing the governmental and economic challenges posed by adoption is critical in blockchain’s current period of rapid early-stage growth. Some countries have embraced blockchain. Others have rejected it. Most are still figuring the nuances out. Each writer in this section has analyzed one key issue in this iterative process. Join them—and most of the world—in figuring things out.