Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, still remains mysterious to some people. Not only do they not understand it, they fear it. However many experts have predicted it to be the future of not just financial dealings but its imminent success in other industries.
A blockchain is essentially a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.
A blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
What this means is that nothing can ever be deleted from it. Bitcoin expert and author David Gerard defined blockchain as ‘It’s an accounting ledger that you can only add to — you can’t cross anything out.’
Blockchain’s ledger system is also tamper proof making it easy to identify if someone changes a single hash. While blockchain is mostly known for bitcoin and other currency related uses it can be used for other applications.
If used in an innovative manner Blockchain technology can enter just about any sector or industry. The increase in hype around bitcoin and blockchain has led to some companies which changed their names to include the word blockchain seeing their stocks soar.
Blockchain is a complicated technology to those who don’t fully understand it or have never used it, however it can actually help simplify our lives.
The irony is, while it’s still riddled with complicated tech jargon, blockchain technology could simplify many processes in our daily lives. It could help us deal with contracts and remove human errors in a variety of settings. Since any change made will be recorded it can help prevent fraud and make many processes simpler.
Some blockchain experts have also said it could enter the field of social media, with the technology being used to secure the privacy of users. It would be easier to control the ownership of data on the blockchain platform and keep track of every digital footprint you may have.
Various companies are doing research of how to use the blockchain technology for their own products including consumer appliances and accounting firms. But the clincher could be blockchain’s use to storing personal data.
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