What Is A Blockchain?



Blockchain technology (or distributed ledger technology) is a mechanism in which transaction records (in a ledger) are mutually verified, agreed on, shared, and managed by participants (such as computers and nodes) on distributed locations on a computer network. In June 2016, the two companies started developing an open source, blockchain-based identity system for people, products, apps and services. Like the Lightening Network above, the Raiden Network establishes an off-chain state network to provide a set of properties that adds to on-chain Ethereum capabilities.

These smart contracts often have logic built into code that is stored, verified and executed on a blockchain, providing a platform for self-enforcing, self-executing agreements. Having said that, many blockchain developments in the e-commerce industry are new.

Medical and recreational marijuana is being legalized in more and more states across the U.S. This new, fast-growing sector of the economy presents challenges we haven't dealt with before, partly because even in states where it's legal, there are still a lot of things cannabis-related businesses can't do. Blockchain is helping fill in gaps for entrepreneurs, particularly when it comes to banking and legal protection.

The creators list a number of uses including micropayments for content distribution, ads, and subscriptions; on-demand marketplaces for bandwidth, storage, cpu processing, energy, or sensor data; and token systems and private currencies. With blockchain, the company reduced the time it takes to trace the fruit from six-plus days to 2.2 seconds.

A private blockchain will require permission (i.e., personal key) to access and obtain the records and details of the transaction. Market leaders around the globe are actively adopting blockchain to create new business models and outperform the competition.

Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) has also expressed interest in blockchain technology, having recently formed a partnership with blockchain firm ConsenSys. While there's a lot of research going on in companies, universities need to blockchain technology step up their efforts in research as well as in offering programs to train the next generation of blockchain developers and entrepreneurs, he says.

Third, and maybe most important, blockchain offers the potential to process transactions considerably faster. 3D printing and additive manufacturing” (aka building 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material) are highly technology-driven processes, whereby the digital files involved can be easily transmitted with the click of a mouse.

While some industries have already started adopting blockchain in their businesses, many are still exploring the best possible ways to start with. For something as hyped as blockchain, with millions of dollars raised, you have to expect some backlash. Blockchain could be used to exchange data, while preserving the confidentiality required in a clinical study.

What is significant about this project compared to the various and sundry other open source projects that litter the Internet is the industry participation and big names behind this: according to the project, founding members of the initiative include ABN AMRO, Accenture, ANZ Bank, Blockchain, BNY Mellon, Calastone, Cisco, CLS, CME Group, ConsenSys, Credits, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Deutsche Börse Group, Digital Asset Holdings, Fujitsu Limited, Guardtime, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, IntellectEU, J.P. Morgan, NEC, NTT DATA, R3, Red Hat, State Street, SWIFT, Symbiont, VMware and Wells Fargo.

As a peer-to-peer network, combined with a distributed time-stamping server, blockchain ledgers can be managed autonomously to exchange information between disparate parties. The blocks are added through cryptography, ensuring that they remain meddle-proof: The data can be distributed, but not copied.

In more advanced stages, the technology could give rise to what Gartner calls "the programmable economy," powered by entirely new business models that eliminate all kinds of middlemen, machine networks in which devices engage in economic activity, and "smart assets" in which some form of property such as shares in a company can be traded according to programmable or artificial intelligence-based rules rather than the control of a centralized entity.

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