Blockchain is a decentralized, peer-to-peer network that stores and maintains information in a secure, publicly accessible database. It provides a new model for the internet, similar to how TCP/IP revolutionized the internet by allowing computers to exchange data without the need for a central authority or intermediary.
It is a technology that has the potential to transform financial services, healthcare and supply chains. Its ability to create a public ledger that is immutable and secure could make it a force to be reckoned with across many industries.
The most common application of blockchain is in crypto currencies, where it allows people to transfer money directly from one person to another, eliminating the need for a bank or other intermediary. This can help lower transaction costs and speed up settlement times.
As blockchain continues to expand, it will be able to help address challenges in other areas of the economy as well, including healthcare, record-keeping, smart contracts, supply chains and even voting. The following list of possible applications of blockchain may not be complete, but it should give you a sense of its potential:
For example, you might use a blockchain to create a digital will that can be passed down to family members in a seamless and streamlined process. Or you might use it to help put your end-of-life concerns to rest and ensure that your beneficiaries are rewarded according to your wishes.
Alternatively, you might use it to allow your service technicians access to your home or car and perform repairs. These service technicians will only be able to gain access to your property after you grant them the digital key that only you have.
There are also several protection mechanisms that can help ensure that the system is not manipulated or compromised. For example, it is very hard to change a nonce after the chain has been extended by a certain number of blocks, and this would require redoing all the nonce computations that were done previously. The second protection mechanism is a peer-to-peer built-in consensus mechanism, whereby a majority of nodes need to agree on the next block that extends the chain.
The third protection mechanism is a chain-of-records, which ensures that all records of the chain are in order and that no one node can alter the history of the chain. In this way, if one node tampers with the data in a blockchain, all other nodes will cross-reference that change and easily identify the culprit node.
These security features can be very difficult to tamper with, and if they are broken, the entire chain will be invalidated. As a result, it is important that you do your research before deploying a blockchain network in your business.
If you are considering a blockchain project, be sure to speak with your legal team about the implications of implementing the technology on your organization and the risks and rewards it could bring. It is also important to be aware of any internal audit and compliance issues that might arise.