WEF’s crypto council explores utility beyond ‘price speculation’ in inaugural review

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The working group sends a strong signal that cryptocurrencies are becoming a permanent fixture in the global financial system.

The World Economic Forum’s cryptocurrency working group published its inaugural review on Thursday — its first step in communicating the application of digital assets in finance and beyond.

In a 38-page report, the Forum’s Global Future Council on Cryptocurrencies highlights the various use cases of digital assets “beyond price and speculation.” The foreword, written by CoinShares’ Meltem Demirors and Visa’s head of crypto Cuy Sheffield, states:

“The Council has […] created this booklet to highlight a non-exhaustive list of companies, protocols and projects that represent the diversity of use cases that cryptocurrencies and the networks which they power can enable.”

Dozens of cryptocurrencies are listed in the report via one-page summaries that outline project goals, implementation strategy and key metrics. The projects are broken down into four categories: base layer crypto assets, second-layer protocols, financial products and services and non-financial applications and services.

As one would expect, Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) are listed as base layer assets, alongside Tezos (XTZ), Celo (CELO), Filecoin (FIL), Zcash (ZEC) and Arweave (AR).

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Some of the non-financial applications featured in the report include UNICEF CryptoFund and World Food Programme.

The invitation-only Council is made up of 30 representatives from various industries and includes members who do not share a single unified view of digital assets. Brad Garlinghouse, Joseph Lubin, and Catherine Coley are among the members.

On its official website, the Council says it plans to “work on technical knowledge products for regulators and policy-makers to inform better governance, capacity-building initiatives, and other projects…”

The World Economic Forum has been broadening its research into digital assets. Last month, the Forum released a report touting blockchain technology as a cornerstone of environmental and social responsibility.

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