It seems the whole world is talking about Blockchain Technology. This is not something to do with corporate entities alone. A lot of start-ups developing Blockchain based solutions are gathering money through crowd funding, and those who are participating in them range from self-employed to young entrepreneurs. Whenever a new technology shows potential, there are a set of experts who talk in its favor and another set that talk against it. However, Blockchain Technology might prove to be an exception to this fact because today everybody agrees with the potential of Blockchain in shaping the future. The argument lies whether it is going to be revolutionary or is it just the next step in the evolution of technology?
Distributed Ledger, Data Encryption through Blocks of Hashes, Peer to Peer Transaction – Not something very NEW!
Blockchain Technology is based on distributed ledger concept wherein everybody in the network has a copy of the database. Whenever a transaction happens, it is known immediately by the whole network which also authenticates the transaction. A news record gets added to the database, which gets updated in the databases of every computer (known as nodes) in the network. There is no central authority which verifies the transaction, and so, every node in the network holds liability of verifying the transaction.
Information of each transaction is encrypted and stored in the form of cryptographic hashes. Every 10 minutes, a specified amount of hashes forms a block and has a reference to the new block. Thus, to change information of a single transaction, all the blocks in the chronological order needs to be hacked. Doing this is something very difficult since buying the hardware for performing such a hack can cost you a fortune.
The principles behind Blockchain Technology such as shared database, peer to peer transaction, etc. are not very new. Technologies like torrents are already running on these concepts. What has fueled the growth of Blockchain Technology is the availability of cheap internet devices. Since these devices can be bought and installed by firms without putting a big hole in their pocket, they can think about implementing Blockchain to make the transactions secure. And that’s why many experts have this argument that Blockchain is just the next step in the evolution of technology. It’s not revolutionary since the core idea behind it has been here for a while.
When joined with Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things
The other two technologies which are gaining popularity are AI and IoT. Artificial Intelligence which is an extension of machine learning promises to process Big Data to arrive at a logical decision. Processing such a huge amount of data is beyond the capacity of a human mind. On the other hand, Internet of Things lets machines connected to the internet exchange data autonomously. The concept of IoT may sound very simple, but it has huge implementation potential in many industries. In the manufacturing industry, autonomous exchange of information between IoT devices can result in the automatic replenishment of inventories.
When IoT was introduced, some experts argued about the security of the devices connected to each other through the internet. If such devices get hacked, then it may lead to theft of confidential data critical to an organisation or individual. Hence came about the idea of using Blockchain technology to secure exchanges between IoT devices. Also, when an artificial intelligence code gets access to IoT devices, it can collect data autonomously to arrive at better conclusions.
Blockchain alone might be just the next step in the evolution of technology, but when combined with AI and IoT, it is truly revolutionary.
To Sum Up
Whether Blockchain is revolutionary or not, depends on the how it is utilised as a technological solution and in which industry. For example, in Banking Industry, there is no doubt that this technology is going to bring about some big changes. Same is the case with manufacturing, supply chain financing, mortgaging and many other industries. However, some firms may still use it just because others are using it, not utilising it to its full potential. They may use it like some ERP software, just to keep information decentralised but still accessible to all authentic users. Blockchain’s revolution is in its use cases rather than in the software code in which it has been written.
The Blockchain revolution has just begun. No matter what you think about the potential of this technology, you need to keep yourself abreast with what the world is doing related to its application. An important part of this process is an exchange of ideas between the bright minds. Since the concept of Blockchain came into light, everybody is trying to find its use in different industries. Some countries are more inclined towards working to implement it in Banking, some in supply chain and so on. They can learn from each other’s approach.
World Blockchain Summit organised by Trescon is a platform where experts around the globe meet to exchange ideas on Blockchain use cases and it is happening on 24 – 25 October 2017 in Dubai. To book tickets or to explore sponsorship opportunities go here.