Chapter 4: When disruptive meets streamline: international standardization in blockchain
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The emergence of blockchain may transform the way we work, operate and interact. Through the use of distributed ledger technology, blockchain challenges the fundamental of any business model built around middlemen and centralization, while ensuring anonymity, market confidence and trust. Depending on the manner they are structured, blockchains have the advantage of lowering entry barriers; transaction costs and information asymmetries. While the jury is not out yet as to the really disruptive features of the new technology, it is quite clear that blockchain has the traits necessary to alter the way sectors such as health, business and financial services or government services operate. For that to occur, a common vernacular would need to be created. Standardization can successfully offer such vernacular, which could constitute the foundations for enhancing market confidence around the new technology. Against this background, this chapter offers an analysis of recent developments on standardizing blockchain at the international level. More specifically, it discusses the focus areas on which international standardization within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) can be meaningful and indeed crucial if this technology is to benefit from rapid expansion. These notably include security, privacy and overall resilience.

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