The most basic definition of
blockchain is a shared, digitized ledger that cannot be changed once a
transaction has been recorded and verified. All parties to the transaction, as
well as a significant number of 3rd parties maintain a copy of the ledger (i.e.
the blockchain), which means it would be practically impossible to amend every
copy of the ledger globally to fake a transaction.
Bitcoin’s success has triggered the establishment of nearly 1000 new cryptocurrencies, leading to the delusion that the only application of blockchain technology is for the creation of cryptocurrency.
However, the blockchain technology is capable of a lot more than just cryptocurrency creation and may support such things as transactions that require personal identification, peer review, elections and other types of democratic decision-making and audit trails.
The first blockchain was created in 2009 when Satoshi Nakamoto crafted bitcoin, a virtual currency which stores all of its transactions on an immutable ledger(that is a blockchain). A blockchain is essentially a database that stores individual transactions or data on blocks.
These blocks contain information such as the date, time and amount of a recent transaction. They also feature a unique code known as a “hash” so you can always distinguish that block from every other block.
What makes a blockchain immutable is that it is not typically controlled by one central source. There is no one computer that controls the entire blockchain, rather multiple computers control it. These computers are linked together in a peer-to-peer network. If someone tried to change a block, the network could easily self-correct it. A hacker would have to target the entire network to actually change something, which is a far more difficult task than simply hacking into a single computer.
What does that mean for me?
You might be saying, “Well that all sounds great, but how will that actually impact me?” A blockchain can actually provide a number of solutions for many parts of your business such as:
- It can offer an identity management tool to ensure people have immutable ownership of their digital signage content.
- It can provide a supply management tool to track digital signage supplies from the factory to the store.
- It can deliver smart contracts for international money transfers.
- It can power loyalty programs to offer cryptocurrency tokens.
- It can deliver more secure DOOH trading platforms through immutable transactions.
These are just a few of the ways that blockchain can impact your business and startups are continuously finding new ways to utilize blockchain technology, such as tracking allergens in food products or crafting decentralized models of governing businesses.
Although blockchain is still in its infancy, it is picking up steam rapidly, so it is a great idea to keep a close eye on it. You can help give yourself a leg up by subscribing to Blockchain Tech News, which covers the entire crypto industry.