Blockchain: Beyond Bitcoin

Blockchain: Beyond Bitcoin

In late 2008, an electronic payment system called Bitcoin made its way into the world. Created by an unidentified programmer (or group of programmers) under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, its main purpose was to permit the capability to securely budge the aptly named cryptocurrency, bitcoin, without utilizing a central bank or third-party. The technology behind Bitcoin is called blockchain, a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records called blocks. The blockchains are stored across a decentralized, distributed network of individual computers (knots), creating several benefits:

  • Transparency
  • No single point of failure
  • Not lightly hacked or corrupted
  • Cannot be managed by a single person, entity, or company

Due to the rise and success of Bitcoin over the last several years, blockchain technology is being researched and evaluated by a broad range of government entities, corporations, and industries to improve efficiencies and security.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently co-hosted a blockchain Code-A-Thon, looking to the public to create ideas on how blockchain could be used to address the challenges of managing electronic health records, such as privacy, security and scalability. It was the very first ever blockchain hackathon hosted by a government entity. Last year, the U.S. Postal Service conducted a explore to better understand the technology and identify potential areas of interest.

At the beginning of 2017, McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting hard for governments and NGOs, submitted a report regarding blockchain technology. They surveyed over two hundred companies and discovered that out of at least eighty nascent, but real (non-bitcoin) opportunities to apply blockchain technology, almost a quarter of them exist within the insurance industry, followed by the payments industry at thirteen percent. In general, the Financial Services industry made up fifty percent of the total mix. Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt this industry by removing the “middleman” and creating efficiencies through various parts of the value chain, such as payments, pricing, transfers, clever contracts, identity fraud and investments.

Looking further into the future, experts and researchers are predicting that blockchain will permit companies to be run only by algorithms, improve artificial intelligence, and track and manage IoT devices. Blockchain is essentially a ledger of encrypted data exchanges inbetween it and other devices, web services, and human users, so it would also provide a way to track the unique history of your individual device. Imagine having clever appliances that communicate and set priority with one another to run at the most opportune time, minimizing tens unit costs and keeping your appliances in good working condition. Or imagine having a vehicle that can run its own diagnostic tests, schedule maintenance – and pay the invoice.

The potential applications and benefits of blockchain are seemingly unlimited, but like any technology, there are still disadvantages and questions that to be answered. One major disadvantage is that it requires constant power from several sources to run. For example, one article found that every bitcoin transaction requires the equivalent energy to power 1.57 American households for a day. And there are still uncertainties within financial industries on how to regulate and adopt blockchain policies. Bitcoin was unprecedented and modern currencies have always been created and regulated by governments. Nevertheless, blockchain seems to be on tempo to become one the most powerful, game-changing technologies to date, disrupting industries and making processes more efficient, see-through, and secure.

Blockchain: Beyond Bitcoin

Blockchain: Beyond Bitcoin

In late 2008, an electronic payment system called Bitcoin made its way into the world. Created by an unidentified programmer (or group of programmers) under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, its main purpose was to permit the capability to securely budge the aptly named cryptocurrency, bitcoin, without utilizing a central bank or third-party. The technology behind Bitcoin is called blockchain, a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records called blocks. The blockchains are stored across a decentralized, distributed network of private computers (knots), creating several benefits:

  • Transparency
  • No single point of failure
  • Not lightly hacked or corrupted
  • Cannot be managed by a single person, entity, or company

Due to the rise and success of Bitcoin over the last several years, blockchain technology is being researched and evaluated by a broad range of government entities, corporations, and industries to improve efficiencies and security.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently co-hosted a blockchain Code-A-Thon, looking to the public to create ideas on how blockchain could be used to address the challenges of managing electronic health records, such as privacy, security and scalability. It was the very first ever blockchain hackathon hosted by a government entity. Last year, the U.S. Postal Service conducted a probe to better understand the technology and identify potential areas of interest.

At the beginning of 2017, McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting rigid for governments and NGOs, submitted a report regarding blockchain technology. They surveyed over two hundred companies and discovered that out of at least eighty nascent, but real (non-bitcoin) opportunities to apply blockchain technology, almost a quarter of them exist within the insurance industry, followed by the payments industry at thirteen percent. In general, the Financial Services industry made up fifty percent of the total mix. Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt this industry by removing the “middleman” and creating efficiencies through various parts of the value chain, such as payments, pricing, transfers, clever contracts, identity fraud and investments.

Looking further into the future, experts and researchers are predicting that blockchain will permit companies to be run only by algorithms, improve artificial intelligence, and track and manage IoT devices. Blockchain is essentially a ledger of encrypted data exchanges inbetween it and other devices, web services, and human users, so it would also provide a way to track the unique history of your individual device. Imagine having clever appliances that communicate and set priority with one another to run at the most opportune time, minimizing electric current costs and keeping your appliances in good working condition. Or imagine having a vehicle that can run its own diagnostic tests, schedule maintenance – and pay the invoice.

The potential applications and benefits of blockchain are seemingly unlimited, but like any technology, there are still disadvantages and questions that to be answered. One major disadvantage is that it requires constant power from several sources to run. For example, one article found that every bitcoin transaction requires the equivalent energy to power 1.57 American households for a day. And there are still uncertainties within financial industries on how to regulate and adopt blockchain policies. Bitcoin was unprecedented and modern currencies have always been created and regulated by governments. Nevertheless, blockchain seems to be on rhythm to become one the most powerful, game-changing technologies to date, disrupting industries and making processes more efficient, translucent, and secure.

Related video: How to find the transaction ID in your Blockchain.info Bitcoin wallet


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