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Researchers at Cornell Release Paper on Cryptocurrencies

By Cornell Sun

January 31, 2018

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Researchers at Cornell University have released a report challenging the idea that bitcoin and Ethereum, the world's two most popular cryptocurrencies, provide decentralized financial systems.

The findings are the result of a two-year study of quantitative measures of the behavior of the blockchain technology that supports the cryptocurrencies.

From 2015 through 2017, the researchers examined and quantified the decentralization of cryptocurrencies, but there was no one clear number to use as a measure of decentralization. They therefore created and tracked a variety of different metrics, including the distances between participants or "nodes" in the system, and how many nodes were held in data centers compared to personal computers.

Although the team found bitcoin and Ethereum are less decentralized than previously thought, they believe a truly decentralized cryptocurrency could create a more efficient financial system based on trust in a network of participants instead of trust in central institutions such as governments and banks.

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