We have seen the highs and lows of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it is the blockchain technology that underpins this digital currency that has emerged as one of the most bankable trends in tech.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that creates a public ledger to record transactions between two parties in a secure and transparent way. The ‘blockchain’ of computers can only distribute rather than copy data so the network acts as a self-auditing ecosystem that reconciles each transaction. The information is held in blocks across several different servers and computers solve cryptographical puzzles to discover the next ‘block’ of information in the chain.
This decentralised peer-to-peer network operates in real time, bypassing the operational bureaucracy of financial institutions. The tech that gave birth to Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, has obvious uses in the financial industry, but its implications go much further.
Blockchain’s impact is felt far beyond cryptocurrency
UK start-up DADI (Decentralized Architecture for a Democratic Internet) is aiming to create a robust and secure alternative to the internet for delivering content via mobile applications and across websites on a network platform.
Start-ups and large enterprises are exploring the potential benefits of the technology across many other sectors. Cisco Systems, has invested in the infrastructure that will support the development of blockchain solutions. IBM also has its Hyperledger platform, while Ethereum, the open-source blockchain project, provides a platform for developers to build all kinds of decentralised applications.
Blockchain is still an emerging technology. As a result, blockchain solutions are developed with different protocols, programming languages and platforms. This adds complexity when it comes to integrating Blockchain applications with other technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT) and local or cloud-based systems.
The structural model of blockchain also relies on a complex transaction management process that hugs systems resources during execution. This can slow the completion time of transactions compared with existing systems.
Despite these challenges, the future is bright for blockchain. The potential uses for it– from medical records to data management, and protecting our online identities to managing opinion polls or even elections – are mind-boggling.
The decentralised apps (Dapps) built with blockchain have the capacity to disrupt hundreds of industries. Given these possibilities and accelerating interest, we believe that more of these apps will gain traction in near future as this potentially far-reaching technology comes of age.
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