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The Industrial Internet of Things FEATURE NEWS

Understanding Blockchain and How it Will Change Life

By Lindsey Patterson May 18, 2017

Blockchain is not a familiar buzzword like the internet or cloud. It is also not an innovation you can touch or see. However, when it comes to the digital lives we lead today, each digital transaction (exchange of services, goods, and value) or private data, blockchain happens to be the solution to a question we all have been asking since we got ushered into the internet age. Can we collectively trust everything that happens online?

Every day, we keep running our lives- including core functions of the economies for government and societies – on the internet. We bank and shop online. We download or log into services and applications that create our digital selves. We then use these apps and services to send more information about us or what we do back and forth. In simple terms, consider blockchain to be a historical, underlying fabric responsible for recording everything that happens online, exactly as it transpires. Its chain stitches the information gathered into encrypted locks that can't be modified and then scatters the blocks across a worldwide network.

What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a publicly accessed ledger where transactions get recorded and confirmed anonymously. To make it simple, let's consider how money gets transacted. Before the creation of technologies like blockchain, businesses and companies relied on governments and banks to ensure trust and certainty. The institutions were the intermediaries. The record keeping and authentication were also performed by the middlemen.

Suppose you're dealing with digital assets like money, stocks, and intellectual property. Can governments or banks really act as intermediaries knowing that digital assets are files in a database? Blockchain came to solve this problem since it eliminated the need for the third –party mediators.

Why the name Blockchain?
Like we said earlier, a blockchain comprises a list of well-organized records called blocks. Each block has a timestamp linked to the previous blocks hence forming the chain. Upon entering a block, the data is recorded, and it can't be retroactively changed. This feature makes blockchain secure. Many people from different locations can access blockchain at the same time and still maintain its transparency, independence, and permanency. By using software like Hadoop tableau, the information can be analyzed but not changed.

You also cannot just store blockchains on your computer no matter how much memory space it has or how large it is. For instance, Bitcoin chains are managed by numerous distributed nodes that require a copy of the whole blockchain. The copies and access are distributed and also updated through the nodes. This way, you can't have a situation whereby all the information gets erased from one source.

Can blockchain transform how we carry our transactions out and our daily life in general?

Well, there is no doubt that blockchain is an exceedingly anticipated technology which will change the entire world. What is more exciting is that we are just getting to know what is it and not many of us have utilized it to its full potential. We can't even begin to comprehend its magnitude.

The internet is being revolutionized by blockchain. Other than being just a source of information where people from all over the world communicate instantly across all borders, now its value can be realized. People can trade assets instantly via the internet.

Various industries that still rely on intermediaries today will soon experience the disruption blockchain will cause. This includes industries like healthcare, real estate, academia, finance, insurance, the public sector, and banking. Although blockchain may render some of the staff redundant by technology, the economy will undoubtedly benefit as a whole.




Edited by Ken Briodagh

Contributing Writer

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