Blockchain is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”. For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
Blockchain is going to change the way transactions happen. It allows for trusted transactions like exchange of money, property, shares between parties who do not trust each other while avoiding the services of middleman.
In Simpler terms, An Escrow transaction without the need for a middleman.
Lets understand it with an example of a business network, each participant currently maintains their own logs and ledger. This is highly inefficient in a case where the logs don’t match up with the logs of other participants.
A blockchain solves this problem by providing a shared, replicated and a permission ledger.
And it also comes with the following additional benefits.
Consensus – Everyone has to agree upon the transaction
Provenance – Track the history of the transaction.
Immutability – Once recorded, it cannot be changed
Finality – Single Source of Truth
Industries which can benefit from blockchains
Blockchain is commonly misunderstood as Bitcoin, however, bitcoin is just a very good example of a blockchain application. Ethereum is another such example. Some industries which can really be disrupted by blockchains are Transportation, Healthcare, Food, Finance
Supply chains and logistics are the first industries which are going to have biggest impact with blockchains.
How to get started with it?
There are many courses online which talk about blockchains and the technology behind it.
Blockchain technology & Bitcoin – https://www.coursera.org/learn/cryptocurrency
Ethereum Blockchain – Preethi Kasireddy explains it perfectly though you do need a fair about of understanding on blockchains. https://medium.com/@preethikasireddy/how-does-ethereum-work-anyway-22d1df506369
Blockchains for business; Hyperledger – https://www.hyperledger.org/
We at 8om, are creating solutions of SMEs which can improve the business processes by getting actionable insights. We are also exploring blockchains and how we can use the technology in production to improve Supply Chain across various industries and other such sectors.
Images by IBM. Thanking Mr. Arvind Krishna for introducing me to Hyperledger.