What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a set of techniques that facilitate the decentralisation of storage, sending and verification of information.
It’s nothing more than a database distributed among different participant parties, cryptographically protected and organised in transactions blocks mathematically related. Simply put, it is a decentralised database that cannot be altered.
Another relevant element is that the system allows that parties that do not trust implicitly on each other can reach a consensus regarding the existence, status and evolution of several shared factors. Consensus is the key in a blockchain system, because it is the foundation that allows all the participants in that system to trust the information recorded in it.
“It is an aspect with an incredible potential to transform a vast number of key sectors of the industry and of society, in a way that it could even change the way we understand the world.”
“British politicians have been the first to understand the full potential of this new industry. In this way, by promoting new forms of business, what the British Government has achieved is to ensure the current status of London as a world reference in the management of financial services”
“In Switzerland, a perfect ecosystem for investments in Blockchain technology has been organized. This Crypto Valley has favorable laws that provide legal security to entrepreneurs”
“In the United States there is an open war. While in Silicon Valley they are betting on public Blockchains in the hope of succeeding as they did in previous years, on Wall Street they are betting on private Blockchains, in which a regulated business model has a better place”
“In Singapore, public administrations, private companies, academic centers and developers have joined forces to promote this technology. The reward for these efforts has been the founding of the IBM Blockchain Innovation Center, based in this Asian city-state. Its investment in Blockchain technology reveals its intention to continue being part of the leading countries of the world in this 21st century”
Blockchain: The industrial revolution of the internet.
Autor: Alex Preukschat
A blockchain network is define according to these criteria:
ACCESS TO A NETWORK
ACCESS TO A NETWORK
The network can be public or private, depending on whether there is some limitation to the type of users that can access the information.
Depending on whether there is a limitation to the type of users that can participate in the transaction protocol, the network will be open or closed.
The network will be decentralised or distributed based on whether the number of existing nodes is limited and hierarchically organised or not.
Based on whether the transaction recording nodes are personally identifiable or not, the network can be pseudo-anonymous or anonymous.
What does blockchain offer that standard databases don’t?
Once we understand that blockchain technology allows the storage of information, we can ask ourselves what makes it different from the well-known technology of databases.
“Consensus, the key to Blockchain.”
A node network it’s used, in which each node contains all the information. When adding or sending that information, it’s replicated by the other nodes, thus guaranteeing that the data hasn’t been manipulated.
The consistency and immutability of the information is achieved via cryptographic techniques.
Differences between blockchain and SQL databases
Data introduced in a blockchain cannot be deleted; the information is permanent. That’s why it’s said that blockchain is written in stone.
When some information is stored in a blockchain, its connection with the previous and following blocks is also stored using encrypting techniques.
Content written in a blockchain is stored in multiple public servers and each computer that joins the network is a node that contains information about each and every transaction.
Anybody can check information in the blockchain network, but only those recognised by the network can write new data. It allows storage of records and files.
What does Blockchain technology has to offer to society?
Blockchain’s only limit is our human imagination, which is why it’s necessary to anticipate the opportunities that its application entails, whether it is in business or in everyday life.
The blockchain world is very uneven
On one end you can find positions that come from the original movement of public blockchain, that are extremely progressive, if not libertarians and with risky and nonconformist, borderline anti-establishment, proposals. On the opposite side we find the world of private blockchains, which, in many cases, represents the traditional and more formal way of understanding businesses.
And between them there are a myriad of middle ground positions
All of them filled with pragmatism and common sense, that put their efforts into steady projects over time. Ideological affinities or preferences notwithstanding, the challenge for every executive, entrepreneur or start-up is understanding the set of proposed solutions for an optimization of the market.
How far can blockchain go?
“Let’s all vote”
The biggest deficiencies when implementing a real public participation into the daily decision-making of Governments are the lack of a strong authentication to ratify voters’ identity, the anonymity of the managing platform, so it cannot be controlled in the shadows, the auditability of the process and the inalterability of the votes. To which blockchain is the answer.
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNANCE
“Let’s truly participate.”
At a municipal level, improvement of public services, fight against corruption and a more participative, interactive and democratic relationship with the citizens are some of the main challenges that cities must face. With a blockchain registry, it is possible to interconnect naturally administrative records, laws, expenses, income, contracts, licenses and properties, among others.
“A sistem tha’s open, transversal and able to share data in real life”
It is necessary to find a new model for citizen mobility that it’s able to reduce infrastructure congestion, can increase accessibility and safety and has a lower environmental impact. In order to make this transformation feasible, there is a need for an open and transversal system, capable of sharing data and information in real time not only with the different mobility systems but also with any interested citizen. Blockchain offers the technology that allows exactly that.
“Control with out interfering”
There are technological solutions that can offer great improvements in public safety, thanks to Big Data and artificial intelligence. By analysing images and behavioural patterns it is possible not only to record but also to prevent attacks, robberies and accidents. But these solutions should be implemented in accordance with all the established laws and regulations.
“No more online mistrust”
If you are the owner of a small toy factory in Pontevedra and you wish to be known beyond your natural market, it’s quite improbable that a prospective client from New Zealand visits your webpage, for a simple matter of trust. If you place your product on big platforms such as Amazon, lack of trust is no longer a threat, but you are faced with mediation costs and the risk of censorship.
“Total trust in economic movement”
In the area of economic control of companies, given a hypothetical situation in which both the client and the provider store their economic transactions or movements on the network, audit processes would be unnecessary. Worst-case scenario, they would be simplified, as only those records that hadn’t been certified by the blockchain network would be required to be audited.
“We’ll never again ask for what it’s ours”
Let’s say that, when booking a flight, we choose to pay the €3 supplement that the airline offers, as an insurance in case the plane lands one hour later than scheduled, in which case they would reimburse us the price of the ticket.
Smart contracts open a range of huge opportunities for insurance companies, but not just them. An action that is executed when two parties agree can be now easily set up.
SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
“Tracking and accurate control of the carbon footprint”
Climate change is a global phenomenon due both to its causes and to its consequences and it requires a multilateral response based on the collaboration of every country and every public and private entity. With the increasing social awareness of that matter, being able to know and certify the carbon footprint of every single process becomes an added value. This is where blockchain technology comes in.