The Infinite Possibilities of Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology is based on a peer-to-peer topology and represents a new archetype for the way information is shared.
Cryptocurrencies have perhaps been the most talked about technological innovation in the past decade. Based on the blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have started to change the financial world for good. Blockchain technology is based on a peer-to-peer topology and represents a new archetype for the way information is shared. If it can be used properly and to its full potential, this distributed ledger technology will be the most significant innovation across various platforms and industries, from health care and insurance to financial services and mobile payment.
In order to explain the concept of blockchain, it needs to be mentioned that blockchain is not a single technology, but an architectural principle. While the regular internet lets anyone publish information all over the world, blockchain lets anyone send value anywhere in the world, with an access to the blockchain file. The values are stored in a distributed peer-to-peer fashion, which can be shared among incongruent users, which creates unalterable transactional records, with each of them time-stamped and connected to the previous record. What sets blockchain apart, is its revolutionary decentralized network, which does not need any kind of centralized administration authority. Every user or “block” is its own administrator. Every transfer of value is instantly recorded, and this establishes trust between the users, as no one can edit or update a blockchain without verification and consent from the other parties in the chain. As the whole system is based on private keys, that are lines of codes, they can be kept secure with relatively minimal expenses and more reliability. The establishment and execution of contracts in this technology manifest the potential of blockchain technology, and it’s not just confined to the finance industry.
Among the other spheres in which blockchain seems to be an obviously better option, internet security and record keeping seem to be the foremost. In a world of easily hackable internet identities, portable and interoperable identities will be a boon. On platforms like Blockstack, a user will be able to access apps atop decentralized networks and have perfect data portability. Also, as blockchain obliterates the need for intermediaries to enforce compliance, many predict that this technology might be the most revolutionary way of internet record keeping, since the invention of double-entry bookkeeping. The distributed ledger system of blockchain is the only incorruptible ledger system in history, and it has the potential to restructure the manner in which we run organisations. Inherently, blockchain is resistant to data modification. Hence, transactional records in a decentralized database will be immune to manipulation or forgery.
This aspect of security also extends to the communication channels on the internet. Recent developments have shown that compromise of communication channels by various public and private institutes is increasingly becoming a norm, and individual confidentiality is becoming less secure. The encryption methodologies of blockchain on a decentralized environment and its consensus technology will be able to provide more secure channels for communication and exchange of information. While that might very well be utilised for nefarious purposes as well, overall a secure environment can be created on the internet.
Blockchain can also be used for complex global problems like reduction of poverty, a decrease in corruption, and development of sharing economy. These are significant necessities in the developing countries of the world. Online international financial transactions without any heavy remittance fees and no minimum amount needed in bank accounts, both facilities can be utilised heavily in these countries. Also, removal of intermediaries will lead to a significant decrease in the prevalence of corruption and exploitation of the poor by the wealthy and the institutions. Since the majority of the agrarian sector of the world does not possess distinct land ownership titles, development of a record system and smart-contract based land registry system, in a blockchain environment might assist in the protection and sanctioning of the land occupancy of small farmers around the world. The sharing economy of today, like Airbnb and Uber, has facilitated millions around the world. This economy is currently hailed to be the future of the global economy, which will provide a more equal access to facilities irrespective of the financial status of individuals. Introduction of blockchain technology to this network, which already functions on a peer-to-peer basis, will revolutionize the structure, as there will be no centralized intermediary present to reap the economic benefits of the platform. It would be like if Facebook was owned by individual users, and not just Mark Zuckerberg alone.
Blockchain can very well become another example where adaptation of the original invention proceeds to eclipse its original function. What was invented for Bitcoin, can be utilised for infinite other functions and possibilities, other than the ones mentioned above. What it actually will be used for can be a bit problematic to forecast now. Nonetheless, it can be safely predicted that we are advancing to a completely undiscovered realm of technologically sound and a more financially equal world with blockchain.