Since Bitcoin's invention in 2009, permissionless blockchain technology has gone through several waves of interest and development. While applications related to payments have advanced at breakneck speed, progress in financial and nonmonetary applications have largely failed to live up to initial excitement. This chapter considers the incentives facing network participants in light of the fundamental problem of signal verification. Doing so can account for both the successes and the failures: first, why are payments a particularly suitable problem to be solved by blockchain technology? And second, what additional problems do financial and nonmonetary applications pose?
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