Blockchain is a public, immutable and decentralized ledger of digital transaction which uses cryptography to keep exchanges secure.
A brief introduction to blockchain and cryptocurrency
A blockchain is a distributed database with no central authority, decentralized protocols and distributed ledgers. Implementation wise there can be two types: permissioned and permissionless. Most cryptocurrencies use permissionless blockchains where anyone can join and have full rights to use it. On the other hand, business blockchains tend to be permissioned. This means a person needs to meet certain requirements to perform certain actions on the blockchain. Blockchains use consensus among participants to ensure the accuracy of the information in the database namely “proof-of-work” which Bitcoin uses, “proof of elapsed time” and “proof of stake”.
How it works
For each transaction and after all the participants agree to its details – it is encoded into a block of digital data and uniquely signed or identified. Each block is connected to the one before and after it and in turn, creating a chain which is irreversible and immutable. Blocks are sealed together, preventing any block from being altered or a stray block being inserted between two existing blocks.
Significant areas of application
- Digital Currencies
- Digital Assets
- Stock Exchange
- Smart Contracts
- Mortgage & Loans
- Transfer of Ownership
- Single source and availability of the latest version
- Passports & Immigration
- Medical Records
- Citizenship records
Response from industries/businesses/governments.
Blockchain technology has gained so much traction that 69% of the banks around the world are experimenting with it. By 2024, the global value of blockchain-enabled transaction platforms is expected to worth $20 billion. Governments around the world are also starting to show great interest in blockchain and its possible application. There is a lot of investment in the development of this technology. The Middle East and Indian governments are driving blockchain adoption through their Smart Dubai and Smart Village initiatives.
Key open source initiatives
Hyperledger was created for the advancement of blockchain for enterprises. Hyperledger is maintained and monitored by the Linux Foundation and has grown rapidly in the last few years.
In a nutshell, blockchain is expected to support businesses across different domains, as the internet did for communication.