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What is Blockchain?
Many of us may have heard the term “Blockchain” and how it is the recent, new topic in the world of technology. Businesses are racing to learn more about Blockchain and if it can be incorporated within their network. But what exactly is Blockchain?
The idea of Blockchain began in 1991, where W.Scott Stornetta and Stuart Haber imagined a future of technology with secured blocks in a chain. These blocks would not allow external users to be able to tamper or change timestamps. We can consider these blocks as a page in a ledger, where each block in the chain holds data, a timestamp, a “hash” of the block, and a hash from the previous block. A block is a growing list of records linked using cryptography, the timestamp is a sequence of encoded information identifying when an event occurred, and the hash is a function that converts an input of letters and numbers into an encrypted output. These unique hashes make each block distinguishable within the chain.
Blockchain is usually referenced with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that allow efficient transactions between two parties. With this technology, our world can be imagined as having every process, task, and payment digitalized where it then could be identified, validated, or shared.
The idea of Blockchain began in 1991, where W.Scott Stornetta and Stuart Haber imagined a future of technology with secured blocks in a chain.
Blockchain focuses on the following concepts
- Private Key
A type of consent be creating a unique digital signature. By holding public and private keys, this offers reliable control of ownership to users
- Distributed Network with a Shared Ledger: Validators on the network are like cameras who reach a consensus that they noticed the same thing happening at the same time. Instead, they use mathematical verification or computation, instead of cameras.
- An incentive to service the network’s transactions, security, and record keeping: Aims to secure a Blockchain by enhancing the speed of block creation and transactions.
Blockchain for Businesses
Blockchain is a reliable source of tracing for businesses, as it can help in constant transactions made between two entities. Blockchain has the growing technology to enhance aspects of our personal and professional lives. In your personal life, you may use Blockchain while using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, to transfer money to another person’s account. In your professional life, Blockchain has the ability to make crucial transactions between your business and other organizations.
Some Benefits inherent to Blockchain include:
Operational Cost Reduction: Having technology that can reduce operational costs is always a key aspect in business. Blockchain allows businesses to take away intermediaries or the administrative efforts associated with transaction reconciliation and record-keeping.
Easy Tracking: Blockchain allows businesses to track transactions easily and trace products or information back to their origins.
Transparency, Authenticity, Reliability, Security: These four attributes are recognizable in Blockchain. Blockchain is encrypted, which makes transactions very secure with the ability to track and record every aspect of transactions.
Ensures Safer Food: Many companies are sharing and using data from IBM Food Trust, built on the IBM Blockchain Platform. IBM Food Trust connects participants across the food supply through a reliable and permissioned record of food system data. This ensures the quality of food and its freshness.
Shipping: is a huge part of some businesses and the slightest delay could cause a negative ripple effect. By digitalizing and automating paperwork across supply chains, IBM Blockchain helps shippers, ports, and others have real time information about shipments.
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“What Is Blockchain for Business? – IBM Blockchain.” IBM, www.ibm.com/blockchain/for-business.
Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani, Marco, and Karmin R Lakhani. “The Truth About Blockchain.” Harvard Business Review, 21 Aug. 2019, hbr.org/2017/01/the-truth-about-blockchain.
Staff, Business.com Editorial. “The Future of Blockchain for Business.” Business.com, Business.com, 8 Apr. 2020, www.business.com/articles/future-of-blockchain-in-business/.