Blockchain has become the worddu jour
but if you think it relates to a marathon run of Tetris, think again. Blockchain is the tech that underpins cryptocurrencies, and very clever it is too so clever in fact, that utilising it to its full potential could change the way we manage society in the future.
So, what is blockchain technology?
is a shared database, but not in the traditional sense of say, a Word or Excel document which often needs to belocked for editing
. Developed in relation to the most well-known cryptocurrency Bitcoin
; it records all transactions with the most recent collated in ablock
, once that block is complete, it gets added to the blocks before it creating one long chain. So far, it doesnt sound any more exciting than an accountants ledger, but its that universal shared element that has industries ranging from finance through to charities interested.
What makes blockchain so special?
Blockchain is completely decentralised and because it cant be locked for editing, its visible at all times.
Information is simultaneously stored, shared, and updated through a network of computers there are no individuals, or single large organisations that control the blockchain its data management for the people, by the people.
In theory, this means the chain is incorruptible to hack it, youd need the ability to take over numerous computers worldwide, all at the same time. Any dodgy dealings outside blockchain community rules, results in that transaction being shut down quite literally quashing a glitch in the Matrix.
So, a self-regulating, shared database that updates instantly, cant be violated, or destroyed, with blocks of data that exist not only as individual sources of information but have an awareness of what all the other blocks contain it sounds like a cut-price Skynet thatll eventually overturn the human race but until then, here are some less apocalyptic uses.
Transparency in government, voting, and democracy
Elections that cant be meddled with are hardly a novel idea, but blockchain technology could ensure that rumours of election rigging and voter manipulation are things of the past. Storing and verifying voter registration, along with tamper proof vote counts will mean genuine democracy for all.
With instant updates, self-verification, and the ability to track progress, blockchain can also serve as an open audit trail of government decisions, policies and statistical data.
Recording financial transactions and ensuring insurance efficiency
The move to capturing other financial dealings is a natural progression. Blockchain essentially cuts out the middlemen, if information can be stored, assessed, and authenticated in one place and shared with multiple agencies, then financial transactions and risk assessment for insurance purposes can take place almost instantaneously rather than manual verification being required.
Also, decentralised technology without the need for approval from any organisation means there are no contrived parameters preventing people from gaining access to money. Youll no longer need to prove you canmanage a bank
account in order to have one democratising everyday banking.
Creating genuine transparency
Visibility has become a 21st century obsession, its not enough for businesses to make statements, provenance now has to be proven, and blockchain can do this.
Having a decentralised, peer to peer database could also boost charitable donations. No more ambiguity as the ability to track money will mean donors having confidence about where their hard-earned cash is going, and exactly what itll be used for.
Secure data storage
Blockchain is ultimately about data storage and adapting the technology could mean storing vast amounts of information in a secure environment. Medical notes, school reports, exam results, could all be kept safe and undisputable.
Plus, when it comes to intellectual property, a shared ledger that cannot be tampered with, either retrospectively or intentionally, would offer greater visibility and copyright protection. The fact that blockchain needs no central body to approve transactions or entries, means it really is a democratic record of data.
Blockchain is deadlong live blockchain
Whenever technology makes a leap forward, Luddites wont be far behind and there will undoubtedly be debates about how tech is putting human beings out of jobs.
But as one door closes, another one opens and for every job that may be lost, another will be created in its place.
You can already find roles for crypto analysts, blockchain solution architects, and cryptocurrency engineers its not that well all be made redundant, well just have to adapt its called evolution.
As the technology develops and progresses, who can predict what it could truly give us? Perhaps a new-found freedom, a society devoid of suspicion, the sharing of wealth that could set us on the path to true egalitarianism surely not even a Luddite could argue with that?