Blockchain to revolutionise online transactions
IT’S only been around for eight years, and has started life with a reputation sullied by drug dealers and online vigilantes, but there’s a new technology on the rise which could revolutionise how we transact online.
And whether it leaves a swath of destructive disruption among large, incumbent businesses — think banks and share registries — in its path is yet to be seen, although it has been widely predicted.
Blockchain is the technological innovation which underpins the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
So far Bitcoin has proven to be unhackable and untraceable — a key benefit if you are, for example, running the world’s largest online drug marketplace, a la the Silk Road, which was taken down by the FBI in 2013.
Bitcoin, and the blockchain which underpinned it, was developed then revealed to the world by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.
Nakamoto remains a mysterious figure, having never been unmasked despite claims to the contrary, and could even prove to be a collective of people.
The Bitcoin story is fascinating in itself, with an untraceable, yet secure online currency allowing millions of users to transact anonymously outside of the traditional banking system, and outside of the law.
But the blockchain itself could also fundamentally change the way we deal with governments, banks (or we could in some cases bypass them altogether), stock exchanges, trade globally and perform myriad operations which rely on large, accurate databases.
A blockchain is, in essence, a ledger or database which exists simultaneously in many places at once, rather than at one central point.
A block is made up of a series of transactions including a time stamp, with blocks joined together in a chain.
Data redundancy has long been known to be important, however blockchain technology allows every copy of the database to be updated simultaneously, but only by those given permission to do so.
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