Blockchain and the future of money and finance : a qualitative exploratory study of blockchain technology and implications for the monetary and financial system
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- Master Thesis 
Bitcoins original idea proposed a trustless monetary system, without the need of intermediaries. In recent years, these very intermediaries it originally tried to circumvent, have gained an increased interest in Bitcoin’s underlying technology, the Blockchain. It presents a decentralized database technology, suitable for exchanging value in an untrusted environment. Consequently, it introduces an innovation in both economics and information technology. In this explorative study, we aim to investigate how Bitcoin and Blockchain technology may impact the monetary and financial system. By conducting 20 in-depth interviews from a broad range of stakeholders and a literature review in this new topic of interest, we have identified two main themes introduced with this new technology. First, we seek to understand how the future of money could unfold with Cryptocurrencies and Central Bank issued Digital Currency (CBDC). The former is recognized to have a series of specialized architectures, spanning from simple monetary transactions to complex platforms enabling a decentralized economy to evolve. CBDC is not necessarily reliant on blockchain technology, but the of digitally issued currencies and blockchains introduces new fiscal and monetary policy toolkits. There are however a series of intricate questions that needs to be addressed before CBDC could act as a complement or replacement for physical currency. Lastly, we explore how the future of finance will be affected by blockchain technology and the cryptoeconomy. Banks may be facing increased competition from new entrants, where blockchain technology may facilitate reduced costs in terms of regulatory compliance, efficiency in transactions and settlement, and reconciliation. Moreover, new financial services are introduced by financial technology innovation. This might change the business model of banks and other financial institutions drastically. Furthermore, cryptocurrencies introduce new funding possibilities and enables organizations to evolve with no governing body. This might facilitate a new economic system, called the cryptoeconomy. Development in blockchain technology is mentioned to be at the same maturity stage as the Internet by the early 1990s. There are several uncertainties regarding its future applications. However, smart contracts seems to be an interesting application, facilitating automation in a range of applications.