The revolutionary piece of technology known today as Blockchain is the brainchild of an inventor, or perhaps a group of inventors. The reason why the person or the exact number of people behind the Blockchain revolution is unknown is that they function under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Since its inception in 2008, Blockchain has gone ahead to transform itself and evolve into a revolutionary piece of technology. Using Blockchain, digital information can be distributed across a network of computers, and this has led to what people are referring to as a new type of internet. What then is a Blockchain?
According to BlockGeeks, a blockchain is a time-stamped series of indisputable records of data that is managed by a cluster of computers, rather than owned by a single person. In other words, it is an ever-increasing list of records that are cryptographically linked. Each piece of data (the block) is linked using cryptographic methods (the chain), and each block contains a cryptographic hash of the block before it, a timestamp, and data about transactions which is usually represented as a Merkle tree in which every leaf node is labeled with the hash of a data block.
Similar to the internet, you don’t have to possess an intimate knowledge of how Blockchain works to use it. To further help you grasp the functionality of Blockchain, picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated several times across a network of computers that are designed to update the spreadsheet regularly. Information stored on a Blockchain works as a shared & continually reconciled database. The fact that this database isn’t stored in a static location makes it easily verifiable & accessible to the public. Furthermore, since it is hosted simultaneously by millions of companies, anyone with internet access can access Blockchain data; they can however not alter it.
The Blockchain network exists in a state of harmony and checks in with itself every 10 minutes. It is connected by a network of nodes, and every node has full information about the ledger and joins the network voluntarily. Each node is also endowed with the ability to process and verify transactions. Each group of transactions is called a block, and the transaction contained within a block cannot be altered or corrupted. This new method of sending n verifying transactions could make traditional commerce and its payment methods go extinct; because with Blockchain, the possibilities are limitless.
Why is Blockchain so important?
Originally developed for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, the tech world has found several other uses for Blockchain. One of the major defining factors of the Blockchain technology (and perhaps the reason behind its meteoric rise) is its incredible versatility. With Blockchain, you can instantaneously trade on d stock market, or keep a fully public record of land registry, or even scale your business; the possibilities are indeed limitless.
Security and Encryption
Furthermore, due to its digital signature and encryption, a Blockchain is incredibly secure. The data contained within a Blockchain is indisputable and cannot be tampered with, as this will require changing the data on millions of other computers, which is physically impossible. It is also nearly impossible for hackers to compromise a Blockchain because the data is not stored on a single server, and after a transaction is approved, it is linked to the previous transaction and others before it.
A traceable trail
Often, it is extremely difficult or impossible (for most) to trace the source of an item or transaction; blockchain offers a solution to this problem. When you record the details of a transaction on a Blockchain, it provides you with an audit trail that reveals the source of an item or transaction, along with all the stops it made on its way. This helps you work your way through a complex supply chain.
Greater speed and Transparency
Using Blockchain, transactions can be processed much faster than with traditional methods of commerce; it also eradicates the need to include payment systems that further expedite the process. Furthermore, banks and consumers are instantly notified about the completion of a transaction. Also, as opposed to individual copies, all participants in a Blockchain network share the same data, which leads to higher levels of transparency. Data can also not be altered without the permission of every person in the network.
It is free!
Blockchain transactions are free; this allows you to charge an infinitesimal amount for your services without worrying about sharing your profits with a third party.
Where are other sectors that Blockchain can be used?
Financial services: Owing to its efficient speed and high transparency, Blockchain is a revolution in the financial sector.
Government parastatals: A Blockchain is incredibly secure; hence, it can be employed in several political processes such as the coalition of votes during an election. This will help curb the likelihood of fraudulent electoral practices.
Publishing and Music: Using Blockchain technology, a writer or artiste can bypass the middleman (platforms such as Spotify and Amazon’s Kindle) and sell directly to their consumers. For example, you can circulate an encoded book that consumers can unlock by making a Blockchain transaction to the author. This way, the author gets all the money from the sale of their intellectual property, and not just royalties.
Transport: Employing Blockchain technology to transportation is an efficient way for the operator to save on credit card operating fees; Blockchain can also take charge of the entire ticketing process.
Supply chains: Since a Blockchain can very easily be traced across a network of computers, it is a very instrumental tool in supply chain management.
Electricity: Using a new device known as transactive grids, households in some regions of the world can now accurately track their electricity usage using blockchain.
Healthcare: With the amount of patient data handled by healthcare organizations, Blockchain will be useful in organizing and securing such confidential information.
Some experts believe that Blockchain is more promising than the Bitcoin cryptocurrency that influenced its creation. Evidently, it has the potential to transform several sectors of the economy and to be further developed in the coming years. From its airtight security to its incredible versatility and traceability, Blockchain technology is definitely a trend to look out for in the coming years.