Fostering Process Standardization in Cryptocurrency

Daozhuang Lin, Chair of IEEE 2143 Cryptocurrency Payment Working Group; Yu Yuan, Secretary of IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Blockchain Standards Committee


The cryptocurrency industry has grown rapidly into a very large industry, with numerous “coins,” hundreds of exchanges, and payments exceeding $1 million USD each day. A lack of globally relevant industry standards in the field has held back its widespread adoption among business and consumers. Consumers have found it difficult to identify those businesses that they knew they could trust, and both businesses and consumers have often found that their interests have not been sufficiently addressed and protected.

Recognizing the urgency for standards in the field, the IEEE Consumer Technology Society Blockchain Standards Committee mobilized stakeholders from around the world for working group meetings. The IEEE 2143.1™-2020, IEEE Standard for General Process of Cryptocurrency Payment, was published in less than eight months. When released in June 2020, it became IEEE’s first published standard in blockchain technology.

It will not be the last. Two series of related cryptocurrency standards are on their way from the IEEE 2143 and IEEE 2140 working groups. Overseeing over two thirds of IEEE’s blockchain standards projects as of today, the IEEE Consumer Technology Society continues to seek ideas and input on the standards innovation necessary to advance digital currency for the benefit of all stakeholders in and around the industry.

All Aspects, All Stakeholders

Customers seek to have the goods or services they paid for immediately after transferring a fair amount of cryptocurrency to a merchant. Merchants would like their fiat payments immediately after delivering goods or services to customers. IEEE 2143.1-2020 was developed to enhance the experience of both customers and merchants in a general process of cryptocurrency payment.

With wide-ranging potential usage among consumers, businesses, and governments alike, the IEEE 2143.1-2020 standard addresses the needs of cryptocurrency payment operators playing an agent role, consumers owning cryptocurrency, merchants accessing cryptocurrency payment platforms, banks, and cryptocurrency exchanges.

IEEE 2143.1-2020 defines both sides of a digital currency payment: how a consumer can purchase goods or services using cryptocurrency, as well as how the business can receive fiat money in return. In defining this process, IEEE 2143.1-2020 is intended to ensure that digital currency payments are convenient for users while keeping the system fair and secure for both parties in a transaction.

The standard is intended to enable consumers to easily filter and identify companies they want to work with by delivering a globally recognized set of criteria for addressing common concerns about instability and uncertainty in digital currency and, ultimately, for fostering trust in the practice. In turn, the standard aims to serve as a guide for electronic payment institutions around the world by providing guidance on both the technical and business aspects of cryptocurrency. IEEE 2143.1-2020, furthermore, provides a reference basis for the governments and regulatory agencies overseeing the application of digital currencies and electronic payments.

Get Involved in Ongoing IEEE 2143 Standards Innovation

More standards innovation around digital currency for the industry will contribute to its realizing its tremendous potential in markets worldwide. IEEE 2143.1 will need to be regularly revised and improved given how fast-moving and innovative the industry is. Plus, additional related IEEE 2143 standards-development projects are ongoing for defining the general process, evaluation, and risk control for cryptocurrency payments:

In addition, the IEEE 2140 series of standards is designed to define general requirements and a framework for cryptocurrency exchange. For example, IEEE 2140.5™-2020, IEEE Standard for Custodian Framework of Cryptocurrency, was published in July 2020 and defines a reference technical architecture, business logic description, service business models, digital asset evaluation criteria, operational procedure models, and regulatory requirement support models for digital custodian services in which financial institutions safeguard customer securities. Four related standards of the IEEE 2140 series are in development:

New voices and perspectives are always welcome. IEEE is looking to collaborate with more individuals and organizations who see the opportunity to raise the world’s standards in the space and contribute to the transformation of the digital currency era. Learn more about the IEEE Consumer Technology Society or purchase the standard.

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