Most people have heard of bitcoin, the controversial cryptocurrency.
However, few know about the benefits of “blockchains,” the technology behind bitcoin, and the reason it’s considered a secure way of exchanging value.
The implications of using blockchains go well beyond a new form of money to a wide variety of personal, governmental, and business uses. In this “post-truth” era, where hacking is rampant and false news prevalent, blockchains may allow us to overcome many of the current weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the Internet and usher in a new age of trusted secure transactions that can’t be hacked.
Blockchains are a decentralized technology based on peer-to-peer networks on which a distributed encrypted ledger resides on all user machines to ensure that any change to the ledger is recorded. The information contained in the ledger is encrypted in such a way that only those with the relevant private key can unlock the information to which they have rights. In 2015, the Economist described blockchain technology this way:
In essence it is a shared, trusted, public ledger that everyone can inspect, but which no single user controls. The participants in a blockchain system collectively keep the ledger up to date: it can be amended only according to strict rules and by general agreement… Mathematical scrambling is used to boil down an original piece of information into a code, known as a hash. Any attempt to tamper with any part of the blockchain is apparent immediately—because the new hash will not match the old ones.
The development of the blockchain technology is relatively new, with the first work starting about 1990. Already there are at least a dozen books on the subject, and a growing blockchain developer community.
The opportunities are many, and it feels like blockchain technology is at the same stage as the development of the Internet in the 1980s – something big that’s just getting started. This is the stage for early movers and custom app development using blockchain technology.
At least a dozen uses of blockchains have been identified that go well beyond the creation of virtual currencies, and range from simple proof of identity to running government services.
Many of these applications are described in William Mougayar’s new book The Business Blockchain, and in Blockchain Revolution by Don and Alex Tapscott. I recommend both books for an in-depth, but non-technical introduction to this developing and important technology. Both books will spark many new ideas and identify interesting entrepreneurial opportunities.
At Float, we are always mindful of client security needs, and our team keeps up with leading-edge security practices and the latest innovations in this area. We have produced Security Assistant, an app that teaches about the most common security risks and steps that can be taken to counter these threats.
Please contact us for a demonstration or to discuss you custom development needs, including the all-important topic of security.
(Image source: Wikipedia)