All that you need to know about blockchain is here
It is quite likely you’ve heard the term ‘Blockchain’ or ‘Blockchain technology’. If you have or haven’t this article will provide a deeper insight into the emerging technology that’s called Blockchain and that’s quickly catching the attention of individuals and enterprises alike.
So, what exactly is blockchain?
We are all familiar with Wikipedia, the ubiquitous source of information on the World Wide Web. Information that is stored on a centralized server is constantly updated by a group of users who have client permissions to a particular account. This ensures a user always has access to current information whenever they access a Wikipedia page. The Wikipedia page administration retain overall control of the database allowing for a centralized control over access and permissions.
While the blockchain concept is similar to Wikipedia updation, there is one fundamental difference. Unlike Wikipedia’s ‘master page’ is edited on a centralized server by a group of individuals with client permission, the blockchain technology relies upon every node (a computer connected to the blockchain network) in the network coming to a consensus and each node updating the information individually and independently from the others. It is this fundamental difference – the decentralization - that differentiates the blockchain technology.
Benefits of the blockchain technology.
Secure and impenetrable: Information within a blockchain network is present as a shared and constantly reconciled database. Information is hosted by millions of computers worldwide and is not present on a centralized server thus making it secure and impenetrable to malicious hacking attacks.
Durable and robust: The technology’s robustness stems from the fact that the stored blocks of information are identical throughout the network and due to this the blockchain:
- Cannot be controlled by any single entity.
- Does not have a single point of failure since information blocks are stored across the network.
Transparent and incorruptible: The blockchain network relies on a network of nodes that have to act independently and in consensus. Transaction occurring on the network is automatically reconciled every ten minutes and each of these reconciled transactions is referred to as a block. This results in two significant things:
- Data is present across the network, and by definition, it is publicly available.
- Altering any block of information is virtually impossible since it would utilize a tremendous amount of computing power to override the network since the information is hosted by millions of computers worldwide. This makes the technology virtually incorruptible.
Uses and applications of the blockchain technology.
The blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt many industries including, but not limited to, financial services, insurance, real estate, information services, healthcare, supply chain management to name a few.
Financial services: Currently anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) are ripe for adopting the blockchain technology. The processes involved in AML and KYC are labor intensive and time consuming for every new customer. The costs and time required for AML and KYC can be reduced by adopting blockchain technology.
Healthcare: Patient data is a critical component in the healthcare industry. Blockchain technology can help streamline patient clinical data across organizations and allow different stakeholders in the healthcare value chain to share access to their networks in a safe and secured environment.
Insurance: As transactions happen, insurance providers can utilize blockchain’s distributed ledger technology to continually update and cross-check information against other blocks in the network thus increasing operational efficiency, reducing costs and enhancing customer satisfaction.
Industry adoption of blockchain is not as widespread today but with industries around the world are beginning to take note of the many benefits this technology could offer in terms of safeguarding confidential information, increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs.