This time, the US election has been a turn-off for many Americans. The reason– both candidates are falling short of trustworthiness and authenticity. In fact, many people are just trying to prevent either of the one from becoming the president, by voting against them. This is sad.
While popular trends in politics are dubious, untrustworthy, and demotivating, trends in Technology, on the other hand, are quite positive.
A lot of technological innovations are happening right now, are projected to bring in more automation, authenticity, and most importantly, openness. And one of them happens to be Blockchain.
Having the potential to rule out middlemen in various industries, Blockchain can shift the status quo by eliminating bureaucracy at every level. Combined with IOT and Machine learning, Blockchain can create systems that can reduce human interventions from a plethora of tasks which will ultimately make them a lot cheaper, efficient and open.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is nothing but a distributed database that maintains a list of records which is continuously growing with time. This data can be anything. Right from financial transactions, orders, requests, contracts– it can store data for multiple types of transactions.
Conventional trade is complex and takes place on a global scale today. We exchange money for everything we buy. All these transactions are then recorded but they are not made public for access. Of course, we do not want everybody to know each and every detail of our transactions. This is why we use trusted third parties to approve and facilitate these transactions. These third parties may include governments, banks, notaries, currency bills etc.
But how about a world where transactions are kept open and can be accessed by anybody on permission? This is what blockchain can enable on a systemic level.
The distributed database system running Blockchain enables collective book-keeping using the internet. Unlike the government institutions or banks who keep the books in secret, blockchain book-keeping is neither closed nor controlled by a single party.
The books are publicly available in one digital ledger that is distributed across the network. This is Blockchain in an absolute technical sense.
As you might know, that in a distributed database, every dataset is replicated and stored across the network, Blockchain works upon a similar pattern as well. When it comes to Blockchain, it consists of data structure blocks. Each of these blocks may contain information related to an individual transaction.
Also, each block contains the timestamp and a hash of the previous block, thus linking the two. This is why the name Block-Chain.
The blockchain is composed of multiple nodes. Each node owns the full copy of a blockchain. There is always a status of the ledger maintained in these nodes. The algorithm within the blockchain ensures that all the nodes continuously agree on the state of the ledger and every transaction in it. In case, when a hacker or malicious program tries to corrupt a transaction or any data related to it, the nodes will disagree and won’t come to a consensus.
The blockchain ledger does not care if the transaction signifies some amount of rupee or dollar. The user can transact anything such as property, home, retail orders, a unit of power or a digital certificate. This is determined by users who can give special attributes to a particular transaction.
According to IBM, Blockchains can allow flawless and highly automated B2B contracts with least involvement from any third party such as a bank, notary or legal agencies.
When we contemplate a consolidated economy comprised of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT), the possibilities are simply jaw-dropping.
In fact, IBM is banking on Blockchain big time. Together with Samsung, IBM is conceptualizing a market where IOT devices and other peripherals interact with one another and take autonomous decisions without any human intervention.
Now, as we understand the revolutionary potential of Blockchain, leading tech companies are already on it. The agenda is clear-make blockchain a standard mode of exchange, payment, approval and any form of barter. With all that said, it is just a matter of time when Blockchain becomes the next pivotal technology and changes the way we do a lot of things. And when that happens, openness and dependability will certainly come at the top that will drive blockchain adoption.
In the next post, I will take up Amazon and IBM’s approach towards Blockchain. Their respective strategies, IBM’s blockchain garage for developers, Cognitive Computing and various other critical developments with which these companies are determined to seal Blockchain as the standard technology for future transactions and exchange.