I’m sure you’ve all heard of the famous Bitcoin, however I’m less certain that you’ve heard about blockchain. Without blockchain technology however, we wouldn’t have Bitcoin, or access to some of digitalised transactions that we rely so heavily on today. Nowadays, we do our banking online, we order products online, we spend hours in a Bitcoin casino and so much more, but much of this wouldn’t be quite as secure without blockchain technology. Below, we discuss exactly how blockchain technology is changing computer technology, and the impact it’s had on several industries.
What Is Blockchain?
Before we get to all of that though, let’s first explore what exactly blockchain is. Although it may seem complex, a blockchain is simply a distributed database that contains a shared list of records, more commonly known as blocks. Each of these encrypted blocks of code contains a collection of transactions, and joins onto a chain of previous transactions, and so on.
What makes blockchain so revolutionary however is the security that it’s able to provide, despite everyone in the network having the ability to view the transaction ledger. Due to the decentralised nature, no single entity controls the blockchain, however this means that there is no point of failure for the data in the case of a hacking or corruption, meaning that all of your digital transactions remain safe.
Industries Disrupted By Blockchain
The most notable industry affected by blockchain technology is the financial one, including the big banks and tech start-ups alike. With the rise of blockchain-based smart contracts, blockchain within the financial industry allows the middleman to be axed from a range of procedures, including legal arrangements and complex business deals. Beforehand, these would be carried out via a computer database with the assistance of the third-party; however blockchain technology eliminates the need for these lengthy procedures. Additionally, big brand names such as Microsoft are using their cloud infrastructure in order to build custom blockchains for their customers to provide a safety network for everyone.
Private Vs Public Blockchains
Blockchain isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ technology however, with the two main categories falling into public or private. With a public blockchain, you’re able to allow others to view and send transactions, regarding that they’re part of the consensus process. Alternatively, you can opt for a private blockchain, which restricts the ability to write to a distributed ledger to one business (such as a selection of employees, for example). Due to the self-policing security of blockchain technology, it’s able to overtake the dated computing methods of record keeping, which can become severely confusing when there are multiple parties involved.
What Does The Future Hold For Blockchain?
Blockchain technology has certainly made its mark in the computer technology sector, however in the future we could see this innovative technology stretch even further. While currently you can use blockchain technology to link household appliances, and even programme your washing machine to order more detergent when you run out (seriously!), it’s also expected that this technology will impact the voting system. It’s been suggested that the government should move towards a blockchain-based identity, meaning that health records, academic records etc. are all unified via blockchain. Then, as a voter, you can rest assured that your vote was counted for the person whom you voted, without being reallocated, and without being shared with anybody.
Blockchain has the power to revolutionise a wide range of computed methods in today’s society, plus a lot more too! Both businesses and consumers are reaping the benefits of blockchain technology, only time will tell how far the technology can go.