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What is Blockchain, and Why Should You Care?

Inside the invisible world-changing technology

BlockchainBlockchain isn’t exactly the hottest buzzword in the industry right now. It’s not on the lips of every IT professional in the same way as AI or IoT, but that doesn’t make it any less important. In a world where we’re becoming more and more reliant on data, Blockchain could be the answer to accuracy and trust online.

Each year, we’re collectively taking more of our lives into the internet. Whether it’s from a professional basis, with collaboration software and remote working, or a personal angle with social media and sharing. Everything we do seems to take place online. Blockchain is basically the net underneath all that activity that captures it all, recording everything that happens – from Bitcoin transactions to private data exchange.

Understanding the Blockchain

If you’ve never encountered Blockchain technology before, then you’re sure to find it a little confusing. Perhaps the best way to look at a blockchain is as a distributed database for sharing records. Each record is known as a block, and it’s encrypted to hold all the data of the block that came previously (like a chain), with data timestamped across the path.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the technical complexity of the blockchain, but the concept is universal when you think about it. While we’re all sharing data online, we also all have facts and information that we don’t want to be accessed or tampered with on the internet too. Blockchain basically gives us a constant solution, a bedrock that doesn’t change, but shows us when and where things take place.

How Are Companies Using Blockchain?

Blockchains are made up of two essential components. The first is a decentralised network that verifies and permits transactions, while the second is a ledger that is maintained by the network. Everyone within a network can see the ledger, and there’s no single point of access where assets can be corrupted or hacked. The decentralised nature of the Blockchain is what makes it so trustworthy. No single organisation can control what’s happening, and no third-parties are serving as guards for the information.

The sheer power and versatility of the blockchain has created applications across almost every industry. Big tech giants and banks have started to transform blockchain into a method of executing business deals, automated exchanges of data, and more. IBM and Microsoft are currently using their cloud infrastructure to build their own custom blockchains that customers can experiment with.

At the same time, countless start-ups are using the same technology for music sharing, global payments, and more.

The Strength of the Blockchain

You probably know Blockchain as the digital structure that allowed for the rise of Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, but that’s barely breaking the surface of what’s possible with this technology.

The nature of the blockchain gives it a truly unlimited level of potential. When it comes to digital transactions and assets, you can place almost anything on the blockchain. While hurdles need to be addressed with this technology before it becomes a natural part of the business world as we know it, a lot of companies are already making huge strides into the future. Within the next few years, you may find that countless spaces in your life are run on blockchain foundations.

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Written by Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter

Hi I'm Rebekah, I have an unwavering passion for the technology sector, and I regularly stay up to date with the latest in UC and Cloud