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A lot of the discussion I've heard around crypto seems to fixate on the currency aspect. However, to truly decentralize the global economy, it seems to me like you'd have to also decentralize the engines that make it all tick... the stock exchanges, futures markets, etc.

If this is indeed possible, then Ethereum seems like the most promising blockchain with it's support for smart contracts and distributed applications.

So with that said, is a distributed stock exchange powered by a distributed currency possible? Does this concept even make sense? Specifically...

  1. What sort of entity would run the market? Assuming it's powered by Ethereum smart contracts, could the code be open sourced and maintained by an open organization? Put another way, could the entity that is matching buyers with sellers truly be not-for-profit?
  2. What would the stock that is traded on a market like this actually consist of? Would the stock actually be NFTs?
  3. From an engineering perspective, is there any reason why smart contracts and the blockchain in general would be unfit for powering something like a stock market?
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  • Welcome to the Ethereum Stack Exchange! A starting point could be the Uniswap FAQ, Discord, Documentation, and v3
    – eth
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 11:21

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That's a lot of questions and to get you started, Uniswap is an example of what's possible.

  1. There is no reason why philanthropy would not be able to sustainably fund something like Uniswap. All Uniswap smart contract are open source.

  2. Most stocks are fungible: 1 share of a company is indistinguishable from 1 share of the same company. The stock in Uniswap are (fungible) tokens that conform to the ERC-20 standard. There can be other decentralized exchnanges for NFTs.

  3. You may get an opposing viewpoint because we are not there yet, but I do not think there are fundamental, engineering reasons why smart contracts and blockchain technology are unfit for powering economic markets.

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