Beyond Theory: Getting Practical With Blockchain Beyond Theory: Getting Practical With Blockchain

Boston Fed Learns by Doing With Blockchain Technology

Blockchain has the potential to impact many industries, including financial services, so the Boston Fed sought to understand its foundational technology with first-hand research. We wanted practical experience, the kind only trial and error can bring.

“Beyond Theory: Getting Practical With Blockchain” goes beyond the basics of distributed ledger technology and tells the story of the Boston Fed’s journey to understand how a blockchain platform could help us perform specific functions within our operations. Our journey involved developing two use cases for learning purposes only—we don’t intend to move them into production. This report describes the use cases, the technology we employed, and the insights we gained.


“This technology holds tremendous promise for anyone willing to test its limits.”


An innovative team at the Boston Fed sought to develop a deep understanding of blockchain technology. This report details our strategies, insights, technical architecture, and ongoing efforts to build a proof of concept on blockchain platforms.

Building an Ethereum Blockchain Proof of Concept

From the early days of Bitcoin, the Boston Fed team watched developments in blockchain, but it wasn’t until the Ethereum platform was introduced that we began devising a proof of concept. This first trial provided many learning opportunities.

Building a Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain Proof of Concept

In the winter of 2016-2017, the Boston Fed’s blockchain team became among the first to build a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

A New Use Case: A Supervisory Node

The Boston Fed team set out to learn what business questions are generated by the use of blockchain technology. We decided to investigate by developing capabilities for the supervisor peer subscribed to each of the channels in our simulated network.

Until Next Time

We hope others will benefit from the Boston Fed blockchain team’s journey, including challenges, lessons learned, and areas for continued exploration. We also encourage others to share what they learn from their blockchain experiments.