What Is The Blockchain?
The blockchain is bringing a new revolution in this world, and this revolution is MASSIVE. It will change the way your business works. So what exactly is a blockchain?
It is a huge database having different types of information (or data). Once the information is stored in this unique database, you can never delete or modify it.
Who owns or manages it? It is not managed by a single individual or a company; thousands of individuals manage this database and they all have a separate copy for themselves.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are becoming ever more popular and into the mainstream of society. Most will recognize bitcoin as an investment source that within the last decade, has risen from pennies per bitcoin to a high of over $14,000 per coin. Despite this popularity and heavy media coverage of the technology behind it, or blockchain, it is still clouded in mystery to many. This is in no thanks to incomplete coverage by the same mainstream media. Furthermore, what is uncommon knowledge about blockchain is companies around the world are adopting blockchain technology and policies.
The mystery behind the technology of blockchain is that it is completely and fully transparent. Imagine it as a big excel spreadsheet that includes every transaction – both history and location – of every bitcoin. Now, picture this spreadsheet having two copies. The first or original copy is about 150 gigabytes of information while the second copy is much smaller, and only includes the relevant information about certain bitcoins (usually the one someone will own). These spreadsheets are then updated every 10 minutes to include new information or transactions, thus adding a new “block” to the blockchain. The transparent part of this technology is anyone can get their hands on a copy of either of these, though in the case of the full file, you will need the computing power to handle such a large file transfer every 10 minutes.
There are several individual blockchains such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Monero, and Ethereum, and they all have their own “spreadsheet”. These spreadsheets are then managed by nodes that keep the spreadsheets updated and secure. These nodes use networks of computers and servers so that any single source can’t influence the entire spreadsheet, which is why being transparent is also its best security feature since no one person can change all the nodes at once.
There is no standardization of blockchain technology now though, and while this doesn’t weaken individual crypto currencies, it raises challenges. These challenges are being addressed by companies around the world who are utilizing blockchain technologies by providing not only research and IT professionals trained in blockchain technologies, but in actual real life practice of the use of crypto currencies. One of the leading industries using blockchain technology in current projects is the energy industry and outfits in the United States of America, Austria, Germany, and United Kingdom. They are pioneering various projects showing how crypto currencies are truly the future of finance options. Some even predict that crypto currencies will eventually overtake the banking industry.
In the USA, energy sector is using crypto currencies to buy power usage back and forth between each other. Instead of hours and days between transactions that they would have made through their respective banks, they are now handled in minutes because of blockchain technology. This doesn’t just stop between business to business transactions. Another project is letting an energy company’s customers use crypto currencies to sell their excess solar energy to other customers.