Last month, the Federal Reserve Board’s Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs issued their first research paper on blockchain technology, entitled “Distributed Ledger Technology in Payments, Clearing, and Settlement.” The Report identifies both the opportunities and challenges entailed in widespread adoption of distributed ledger technology. The Report suggests that blockchain technology has the potential to provide new ways to transfer and record the ownership of digital assets; securely store information; provide for identity management; and other evolving operations through peer-to-peer networking, access to a distributed but common ledger among participants and cryptography. Potential use cases in payments, clearing and settlement include cross-border payments and the post-trade clearing and settlement of securities transactions. Blockchain technology could reduce or eliminate operational and financial frictions around existing services. Nonetheless, the paper notes that the application of this technology is still in its infancy, and widespread adoption is unlikely before technological hurdles, legal considerations and risk management considerations are addressed.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/feds/2016/files/2016095pap.pdf