Crypto currencies are attempting to disrupt finance the way internet did for communication and information dissemination. Bitcoin popularized the concept of distributed trust: the idea that multiple stakeholders can reach a consensus without a trusted third party standing in the middle. With a total value of $71B (8/16/2017), the market has begun to validate Bitcoin. At the same time, other crypto-currencies like Ethereum and Ripple are growing in popularity as well in terms of market cap.
While Bitcoin is one of the earliest and most well known crypto currencies, venture-backed companies are working towards applying the underlying distributed ledger technology in a myriad of ways include voting, personal identity management, documenting information, property title, remittances, clearing and settlement, alternative assets, and database management. There is tremendous volatility in this space and investments can go down even quicker than they go up. Reshape is dedicated to better understanding both the potential opportunities and pitfalls of this nascent financial technology.