Image showing someone place an Ethereum coin inside a wallet.
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Crypto creep

From revolution to revanchism.

How likely? How soon? What impact?

Even as cryptocurrency goes through a volatile birthing process, other more mundane applications of blockchain technology in urban Internet of Things systems move forward. In theory, distributed ledgers hold great promise to improve transparency and security in urban tech applications. But while the antiestablishment rhetoric of cryptocurrency proponents pervades public understanding of blockchain, the technology is finding its strongest institutional advocates in regions where authoritarian governments rule. And telecoms operators are aggressively moving to roll out blockchain layers that provide some of the purported benefits of the technology while retaining control over its use and distribution. As the role of distributed ledgers continues to expand in smart city systems, will this "crypto creep" create more problems than it solves?


Signals are evidence of possible futures found in the world today—technologies, products, services, and behaviors that we expect are already here but could become more widespread tomorrow.