Blockchain is the technology on which Bitcoin and all the other cryptoassets are based – but it has very broad applicability, and will soon be recognized as another disruptive technology that will provide great benefit to business, and will contribute to substantial job re-definition and loss.
A blockchain is fundamentally an electronic ledger, shared among a number of people, which consists of a linked chain of blocks of time-stamped transactions, with special characteristics:
- They are immutable (which means that once a transaction is added, it cannot be changed or deleted).
- They are distributed on many computers (each with their own copy), and no transaction can be added to a block without consensus, i.e.the agreement of all computer owners.
- All transactions and the chain linkages are encrypted.
- The blockchain operates without relying on a central co-coordinator to provide the authoritative version of the transactions.
A blockchain allows a number of independent parties (who may not trust each other) to keep a tamper-proof and secure record of a number of transactions (involving, for example, the purchase, delivery, and payment of a product). This eliminates the need for the involvement of trusted third parties (like lawyers and bankers). Software (consisting of a sequence of ‘IF … THEN … instructions) has been developed to set out all the steps required to complete a process, and to initiate and record the completion of each step. This is called a ‘Smart Contract.’
The first description of Distributed Ledger Technology (of which Blockchain is a subset) was in 1991. Bitcoin started in 2008. The first commercial application was in September 2016, when Barclays Bank facilitated a $100,000 trade of cheese and butter between Irish food company Ornua and the Seychelles Trading Company, which took less than 4 hours (compared to the current average of 10 days).
To emphasize the breadth and global reach of the technology, here are a few current applications:
- The World Bank, working with Microsoft and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, has issued the first blockchain-based bond.
- The shipping giant Maersk, working with IBM, has developed a blockchain-based supply chain, shipping and logistics platform that 94 world-wide companies have agreed to use.
- De Beers is using blockchain to track the source and shipping of their diamonds.
- Italian insurance companies are testing a blockchain-based solution to resolve disputes involving car-liability claims,
- Wyoming farmers want to use blockchain to track what their cattle eat, and then brand their beef as superior,
- China’s first blockchain social network is the brainchild of a 24-year-old female poker player,
The lack of need for trusted third-parties will impact the demand for bankers and lawyers, and blockchains will eliminate the need for a lot of currently-printed documentation. But other applications, most as yet unspecified, will be more disruptive to the labor force. One such application occurred in March 2018 when a house in Vermont was sold using a blockchain-based platform.
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Blockchain to be used in voting and to sell excess IT storage (Blockchain – 2018-09)
Almonds sent from Australia to Germany in a blockchain-based supply chain trial (Blockchain – 2018-07 – ZDNet)
Blockchain to enable storage sharing amongst competitors (Blockchain – 2018-07 – TechRepublic)
Blockchain and business: Looking beyond the hype (Blockchain – 2018-06 – ZDNet)
Explaining blockchain (Blockchain – 2018-05 – TechRepublic)
How the blockchain could help build a decentralized media economy (Blockchain – 2018-05 – TechRepublic)
The emergence of blockchain as a business tool, and its potential uses (Blockchain – 2018-04 – TechRepublic)
IBM made a major investment in blockchain technology (Blockchain – 2018-02 – Fox News)
REVIEW THESE INFORMATIVE ARTICLES - AND READ THOSE THAT INTEREST YOU
Introduction to blockchain (Blockchain - 2018- 12- Shelly Palmer)
New South Wales Land Registry to trial blockchain for conveyancing (Blockchain - 2018- 10- ZDNet)
Blockchain-based platform used for New South Wales' new digital drivers licence (Blockchain - 2018- 09- ZDNet)
Debunking the 5 biggest blockchain myths (Blockchain - 2018- 09- TechRepublic)
Trading in oil and wheat using a blockchain will start in 2018 (Blockchain - 2018- 09- TechRepublic)
Walmart to track lettuce from farm to store, using a blockchain (Blockchain - 2018- 09- The Next Web)
Overwhelming' response to world's first blockchain bond (Blockchain - 2018-08 - CNBC)
Blockchain is starting to show real promise amid the hype (Blockchain - 2018-08 - Barron's)
Almonds sent from Australia to Germany in a blockchain-based supply chain trial (Blockchain - 2018-07 - ZDNet)
Dubai to use blockchain to streamline judicial processes (Blockchain - 2018-07 - Next Big Future)
IBM uses the blockchain to boost financial services innovation (Blockchain - 2018-07 - TechRepublic)
Korea Telecom first to apply blockchain to commercial network (Blockchain - 2018-07 - ZDNet)
Blockchain: 6 Great Non-Cryptocurrency Use Cases (Blockchain - 2018-07 - Shelly Palmer)
Banks conduct cross-border trades on IBM-powered blockchain (Blockchain - 2018-07 - CoinDesk)
The Coolest Blockchain Startups at Consensus 2018 (Blockchain - 2018-06 - PCMag)
A wide selection of Blockchain startups.
5% of the world’s energy transactions take place via a decentralized network (Blockchain - 2018-06 - Technology.org)
The growing use of private solar cells and heat pumps is creating a new decentralized energy system, where everyone can produce and sell energy through a blockchain network. 5% of the world’s energy transactions already do this, and the World Energy Council expects this to rise to 25% before 2025.
Blockchain and business: Looking beyond the hype (Blockchain - 2018-06 - ZDNet)
What is a smart contract? (Blockchain - 2018-05 - ShellyPalmer)
Blockchain governance options (Blockchain - 2018-05 - Hackernoon.com)
De Beers uses blockchain technology successfully to source and monitor diamonds throughout the supply chain (Blockchain/Supply Chain - 2018-05 - TechRepublic)
Food waste management company uses blockchain to track food waste from restaurant to the needy (Blockchain/Waste management - 2018-05 - Fast Company)
The Bank of England is testing blockchain to support domestic payments (Blockchain/Banking - 2018-04 - Digital Treds)
The emergence of blockchain as a business tool, and its potential uses (Blockchain - 2018-04 - TechRepublic)
Spanish bank’s customers using blockchain to transfer money (Blockchain/Banking - 2018-04 - Quartz)
The Blockchain Security Revolution (Blockchain - 2018-04 - Stansberry Research)
Alibaba is trialling a blockchain platform for supply chain tracking (Blockchain/Supply Chain - 2018-04 - Coindesk)
IBM partners with jewelry industry on blockchain supply chain project (Blockchain/Supply Chain - 2018-04 - Coindesk)
How blockchain trade finance is breaking proof-of-concept gridlock (Blockchain/Trade Finance - 2018-04 - Coindesk)
ANZ and IBM build blockchain solution for insurance (Blockchain/Insurance - 2018-04 - Coindesk)
This is what a 4th-generation blockchain looks like (Blockchain - 2018-03 - Medium)
2nd Gen: Ethereum, NEO, WAVES, etc, with smart contracts and easy tokenization of assets.
3rd Gen: Cardano, etc. solving problems of scalability, speed, and energy efficiency by using Proof of Stake validation and off-chain routing.
4th Gen: Multiversum making the blockchain environment flexible and economical for the enterprise, industrial and institutional use, and safe for consumers. Features include complex data types, multidimensional structures, data sharding, chain splitting and Proof of Integrity validation.