ABSTRACT

The blockchain has enabled the successful creation of decentralized digital currency networks. This success has prompted further investigation into the usefulness of blockchains in other business settings. Because of the blockchain's use as a ledger, the question arises whether the blockchain could become a more secure alternative to current accounting ledgers. We show that this is infeasible. By casting this question in the context of the Byzantine Generals Problem, which the blockchain was designed to solve, we identify multiple flaws hindering implementation of the blockchain as a financial reporting tool. Whereas blockchain-based digital currencies only exist within the blockchain, economic transactions exist outside of accounting records. This distinction prevents an acceptable level of transaction verification using the blockchain model. Additionally, the security benefits of the blockchain that render it ostensibly immutable are not fully available or reliable in an accounting setting.

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