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NIST IR 8202 (Initial Public Draft)

Blockchain Technology Overview

Date Published: January 2018
Comments Due: February 23, 2018 (public comment period is CLOSED)
Email Questions to:


Dylan Yaga (NIST), Peter Mell (NIST), Nik Roby (G2), Karen Scarfone (Scarfone Cybersecurity)


NIST announces the release of Draft NISTIR 8202, Blockchain Technology Overview. This publication is intended to provide a high-level technical overview of blockchain technology. It discusses its application for electronic currency as well as broader uses. The document looks at different categories and approaches for different blockchain platforms.

This document is intended to help readers to understand the technologies which comprise blockchain systems and to understand how blockchains can be appropriately and usefully applied to technology problems. 

  • Section 1 provides an introduction to the topic of blockchain technology. 
  • Section 2 defines the high-level components of a blockchain system architecture, including hashes, transactions, ledgers, blocks, and blockchains.
  • Section 3 discusses how a blockchain is expanded through the addition of new blocks representing sets of transactions.
  • Section 4 examines the need for consensus models to resolve conflicts among blockchain mining nodes.
  • Section 5 introduces the concept of forking.
  • Section 6 defines and discusses smart contracts.
  • Section 7 looks at blockchain permission models, discusses their application considerations, and provides use case examples for each model.
  • Section 8 provides several examples of blockchain platforms in use today to indicate the variations from one platform to another.
  • Section 9 highlights some of the limitations of blockchain technology.
  • Section 10 gives a short conclusion for the document.
  • Appendix A contains a glossary for selected terms defined in the document.
  • Appendix B provides a list of acronyms and abbreviations used in the document.
  • Appendix C defines the references used throughout the document.

Your feedback on this draft publication is important to us. We appreciate each contribution from our reviewers. The very insightful comments from the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally, continue to help shape the final publication to ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of our customers.



blockchain; consensus model; cryptocurrency; cryptographic hash; distributed ledger; mining
Control Families

None selected


Draft NISTIR 8202 (pdf)

Supplemental Material:
NIST News Release

Document History:
01/24/18: IR 8202 (Draft)
10/03/18: IR 8202 (Final)


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