Initially introduced by digital currency, Blockchain technology has now shown consequential in finance, identity management, intellectual property, mortgages, voting, healthcare, and fine art. Bitcoin, the virtual currency, is one of the first applications of Blockchain technology that enables seamless bilateral financial transactions. Bitcoin imitates early emailing only it is transmitting a system of money.
This launch of Blockchain has led to the misconception that Bitcoin and Blockchain are synonymous. Blockchain is a far broader value proposition. Blockchain technology can support a variety of applications related to multiple industries, whereas Bitcoin is only a currency relying upon Blockchain technology to be secure.
It is important to understand Blockchain as a digital ledger, an open global platform running applications on Ethereum without distortion, downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. Ethereum wraps a network around the entire earth with access to the platforms, and allows user data to remain private. Blockchain is the shared global infrastructure that enables the creation of markets, the storage of registries and the exchange of value without the middleman. Blockchain redefines trade in financial terms for a new digital economy.
Is it possible to imagine a world where contracts are embedded in digital code, shared in transparent databases and protected from deletion, revision or tampering? What is this transformation and what does it mean to a single individual or business? What problems does Blockchain solve? As waves of technological and institutional change gain momentum, the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems at a lower cost is possible. This is due to Blockchain as the foundational technology rather than as a disruptive one. The more users of the application, the more value is generated for all participants. As the fast-approaching digital world ensues, Blockchain initiates change in how we regulate and administer control over our affairs.
Is Blockchain software emerging as a significant impact on security? From major banks to stock exchanges, from healthcare recording to transactions in the financial industry, Blockchain has quickly adopted technology for its capacity to lower transaction costs and securely penetrate every aspect of our economy. There is a real concern about the implications this technology will have upon governance, identity, and supply chains. Whether the technology will shape reality in a way that is not being perceived is the open question.
During the Seventies, TCP/IP was created as an open, shared public network without any central authority. It became the basis for email, replacing the current telecommunications architecture of ‘circuit switching’ between two parties or machines. This new protocol transmitted information digitally, breaking it into very small packets. Not many realized the full potential of this new architecture despite the creation of organizations such as Amazon, Priceline and Expedia who saw dramatic gains in productivity and low-cost yet extensive reach by relying upon peer-to-peer networks. Like Blockchain today, telecommunications looked upon TCP/IP with skepticism.
The meaning of Blockchain cannot easily be understood with a lack of knowledge as to how it is becoming vital in the digital world. The technology is highly secure. For example, transferring funds from banks can be tampered with quite quickly. With Blockchain this vulnerability is non-existent, the technology avoids the long processing and movement of the transaction, saving time and money. Blockchain also has an automation capability to generate automatic actions, events and programs. Blockchain confirms and authorizes transactions while creating a permanent record. The block contains a digital signature, a timestamp, and other important relevant information, but does not include the identity of the individuals involved in the transaction.
How is Blockchain creating value and changing the foundations of complexity in our economy? Major companies with internet-platform driven business models such as finance and other companies using Blockchain to trace complex supply chains. Transactions can be tracked from departure to destination. Manufacturing is not yet on this path in following their supply chains. Imagine healthcare information sharing on-demand with other authorized providers. There is a variety of centralization involved with several Blockchain archetypes.
Blockchain has a lot of positive impacts including new financial services in the world’s economy, bridging the trust gap internationally, especially in areas where resources are scarce and corruption widespread. Blockchain can combat election fraud, has no transaction cost and has the ability to create new entrepreneurial industries competing with companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The technology can run smart applications that improve the quality of life in public service areas such as garbage collection, transportation and traffic management. Because Blockchain employs a shared ledger, a distributed ledger or a decentralized network, answers can be quickly obtained from exchange related inquiries.
Once a safe ledger without transaction fees is widely implemented and understood, life will change. Selling music could become profitable by cutting out music companies and distributors. Instead of Amazon taking a cut of eBooks these manuscripts could be circulated through Blockchain in code. Blockchain could eliminate bank accounts and banking services altogether, and it may change the way stock exchanges work, loans are bundled and insurances contracted. A brand-new world is coming.
Artificial Intelligence is also a hot new technology quickly advancing into the business world. It is predicted by 2030 AI will have added $15.7T to the world economy. AI is the brain enabling analysis and decision-making process from data collection. AI and Blockchain can benefit each other by exploiting data to new levels. Both can and will boost each other’s potential. Artificial Intelligence implements real time machine learning based on algorithms while Blockchain protects that data.
The combination of Blockchain technology and Artificial Intelligence are currently undiscovered arenas yet both are revolutionary and capable of changing how the world functions. Artificial Intelligence comes to conclusions. Blockchain can operate in a variety of ways by using different means to secure transactions, are only seen by authorized users and will likely dominate the digital world of the future. Blockchain creates trust in the conclusions presented by AI. Blockchain together with Artificial Intelligence will affect every future business.
What remains is the philosophical question of what happens to reality as we know it…and when will the transformation take place… these answers still remain to be seen….