Talking point
Blockchain – attack is probably the best form of defence
Debate over blockchain technology is raging in many online and offline media at present. In principle, the technology constitutes a decentralised ledger system that can be coordinated via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Any ownership or security issues arising in connection with the decentralised transactions conducted across the ledger system are handled by P2P mechanisms as well, i.e. also without a central node. Ownership status is established via the digital exchange of cryptographic keys (public vs private), while fraudulent transactions can largely be ruled out with the help of the cryptographic "proof of work" system. Using a proof of work, blockchain technology enables the rapid, inexpensive transfer of assets and financial products between individuals who neither know nor trust one another, without a compelling need for an intermediary to reduce existing information asymmetries. [more]
Germany
Germany’s regional airports under political and economic pressure
The total passenger volume at German regional airports decreased steadily from 2010 to 2014. In a longer-term comparison, the volume in 2014 was barely 5% higher than in 2005. During the same period, the larger German airports experienced growth of 25.6%. The range of flights available at most regional airports remains small. Therefore, the anticipated positive effects on the local economy are small, as are the transport benefits. With few exceptions, regional airports have been in the red for about the past ten years. In 2013, for example, none of the airports discussed in this paper was able to show a profit. Looking ahead, we remain sceptical with regard to expansion plans at regional airports. It would still be preferable if the federal government were the competent authority on the fundamental question of whether and where airport capacities should be expanded. [more]
Germany
Privatisation in the euro area: Governments should grasp opportunities
As a major element on the new reform agenda for Greece stipulated at the latest eurozone summit in Brussels privatisation has become an important issue for the southern European country. However, privatisation should be a topic for other governments in the euro area, too. Privatisation can generate substantial receipts for the public purse, and it opens up the prospect of increased efficiency in the economy. In several countries the potential for privatisations is by no means exhausted. [more]
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