What is a Blockchain!?

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For the past three years I have heard a lot of buzz around the word blockchain, some say it is revolutionary, some say it is a bust. I never quite understood what it was so I thought it would be helpful to shed some light on the topic!

Currently, companies are facing new challenges in data management and security. From our  current political climate we have seen the Ashley Madison breech, Anonymous Hackers, Apple phone hacking, etc. Security and having the ability to manage your data are becoming more important every single day.

So what is blockchain? Blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it amount a distributed network of computers. The key here is that blockchain uses cryptography to allow EACH participant on the network to manipulate the ledger in a secure way WITHOUT the need for a central authority.

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Say a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it is extremely difficult to change or remove. To add/change anything you need to be approved by the majority.

So what are the different uses for blockchain you ask? There are a plethora of reasons to implement blockchain (eliminating middle men, easy to use, safe, secure etc.), but the technology is relatively new and there people are finding new ways to utilize blockchain daily! The first firm to utilize blockchain has been bitcoin. For those that are unfamiliar, Bitcoin is a network that created a new payment system and a completely digital money. There is no central authority or middlemen and it is pretty much cash for the internet.

However, there are many different ways blockchain can be utilized in todays world. Deloitte recently put out a study on how blockchain is disrupting the financial services industry by increasing speed, efficiency, transparency, and reduce risk across the board. Deloitte does not think blockchain will create a paradigm shift in the near future, but will likely affect a host of industries ranging from travel, retail, and even music.

Personally, I think that blockchain is going to explode onto the scene and firms and industries are going to take advantage of their capabilities. Below is a picture of how disruptive products and technology usually come to fruition.

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You have the early movers/innovators who understand the technology very well and then you have the early adopters who use the technology. The biggest problem is closing the gap and pulling the early majority into the equation. In terms of blockchain, I think we have already had the innovators stage with bitcoin and are beginning to see the early adapters ideas come to fruition. Personally, I think within the next 10 years blockchain will have massive disruptions across multiple industries, starting with the financial services industry. Firms like (JPM, Goldman, Citi, etc.) have invested time and money into startups and research. I think it is only a matter of time before we cross the chasm into the early majority.

What do you guys think? Will blockchain be a bust, revolutionize our society, or be somewhere in between? Do any of you guys have any exposure to blockchain technology?

Below are some helpful videos in understanding blockchain better!

 

 

 

Blockchain.info Exceeds 4 Million Users Worldwide

https://bitcoin.org/en/faq#hasnt-bitcoin-been-hacked-in-the-past

6 comments

  1. Nice post. There certainly is alot of hype associated with blockchain. I suspect it will be one of those technologies that – if successful – will really be the backbone of more user friendly technologies. While effective, I don’t think that the average person will necessarily understand or trust the underlying technologies, but they may trust people or companies that implement them.

  2. I definitely agree that this is an important technology especially given increasing concerns about data privacy and security. I’m not sure if blockchain will turn out to be the only answer or the clear winner in terms of data management technology, but I think we will continue to see innovation in this space going forward thanks to blockchain.

  3. Really enjoyed reading your post, I had never heard of Blockchain before but I’m definitely going to look into it more. I think you did a great job of giving a brief overview of what it is and the future implications it can hold for data management. I agree with your notion that the use of Blockchain and other new methods to store data will only accelerate going forward and it won’t be long before they’re commonplace with major companies.

  4. Great post. I had never heard of blockchain, and once I started reading about it, it’s definitely a very complex topic, but you did a really nice job of breaking it down and explaining it! I also liked the videos you included at the end, those helped too!! It seems like blockchain definitely has some advantages to it, and I can definitely see companies using this as part of an overall strategy to protect and manage data. Since databases and information are constantly being compromised, it’s even more important for companies to look for different ways to protect information. I imagine there will be a lot more discussion around blockchain and similar things as we continue to live and work in such a technology-driven society. Thanks for posting!!

  5. I had never heard of Blockchain before your post, so it was very interesting to read about. Your explanation was very clear and made it very easy to understand, but I also really enjoyed the videos you posted at the end of your post to further clarify. Also, applying the “crossing the chasm” idea to block chain is very applicable and makes a lot of sense. It will be very interesting to see how many companies begin using blockchain in the future! Thanks for your post!

  6. new to blockchain, but you did a great job introducing it. I think i have a pretty strong basic understanding of some fairly complex things going on her. Prof kane make an interesting comment tho, dont most technological advances get introduced by a company adopting it? rather than the general public deciding on how we would advance as a tech savvy society

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