As I previously mentioned, it is important for us to learn the knowledge of the future, apart from knowledge of the past. Here is another one worth paying attention.
Are you aware of what blockchain is? It is the technology behind Bitcoin. According to wikipedia, it is
a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block.:6 By design blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data - once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively.
But how is blockchain relevant to us? It combines several key features into one which are important for transactions on the internet:
- It is public - it is not owned by anybody, and that means fair and transparent
- It is distributed - therefore it is stored in everybody's computer, and not manipulated in a central hub
- It is constantly synchronized - to keep the transactions up-to-date, therefore everybody can see its real-time status
- Cryptography - it is encrypted, and therefore it is secured.
These features make the blockchain very special and exceptional for internet. A lot of investment estimated over $1 billion had been spent in 2015. The following are some of the things happening in the world:
- NASDAQ Linq - a blockchain-powered trading platform for non-public shares transactions, and enables private securities issuance
- xapo - a bitcoin wallet that can be downloaded to your mobile device, creating a real bitcoin debit card
- Open Bazaar - an open source project to create a decentralized network for peer to peer commerce online—using Bitcoin—that has no fees and no restrictions.
- La'zooz - a decentralized ride-sharing still under development, an alternative for Uber that the drivers own their offerings
- ujo music - a home for artists allowing them to own and control their creative content and be paid directly for sharing their music contents worldwide
- Blockstack - a new internet for decentralized and server-less applications which enables secure mapping of user IDs, public keys, and data storage, etc., so that users are in full control of their own data. As a result, digital signature is made possible, and user private data can be stored encrypted and securely on public clouds
- Other opportunities with a blockchain ID:
- Secured personal ID to tie with personal document, files, including ID cards, passports, driving licenses, etc.
- Voting, airtickets, eHealth records
- Supply chain to track all along the manufacturing & logistics for tracking of counterfeit
Daniel Gasteiger explained all these in his TEDx Talk.
You want to see how blockchain is working? You can see the dynamics of block chain at http://blockchain.info, and here is another YouTube video here, where it talks about TRUST, trust bypassing all the middle men.
New Kids on the Blockchain - by Lorne Lantz on TEDxHamburgSalon
To understand more about this block chain technology, here are some YouTube videos which give a very simple explanation without going too technical:
Blockchain 101 - A Visual Demo - by Anders Brownworth
Block chain technology - by GO Science
What is Blockchain - by zlotolow
If you want to go further, here is another interesting YouTube video:
Blockchain Demystified - by Westpac Banking
Blockchain: Real World Use Cases
The blockchain technology seems very powerful and promosing. However, it is also important to understand that, this blockchain technology is still new. It is still under development. We already see some drawbacks of the Bitcoin. We need to keep watching how the blockchain will develop.
There are researches by the governments on this blockchain technology, and some reports and white papers can be found. This shows the interests of the government towards this technology. The blockchain is also called the Distributed Ledger Technology.
- Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond block chain - by the UK Government
- White Paper on Distributed Ledger Technology - by ASTRI, commissioned by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority
- Distributed ledger technology in securities post-trading - by European Central Bank
- Distributed ledger technology in payments, clearing, and settlement - by the Federal Serve Bank
This article is focused on Bitcoin, not Blockchain. But if you want to understand specifically about Bitcoin which is an example of blockchain, here is a simple video you might be interested in.