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An edition of the Economist last November was uncharacteristically effusive about the blockchain. On the cover, it called it “The Trust Machine”, and said that it is a technology that “could change the world’.

In a lead article, it explains that the “blockchain lets people who have no particular confidence in each other collaborate without having to go through a neutral central authority. Simply put, it is a machine for creating trust. … it is a shared, trusted, public ledger that everyone can inspect, but which no single user controls.”

Then, in January, the UK Government’s Chief Scientist, Sir Mark Walport, published a report setting out how distributed ledgers could transform the delivery of public services.