The crypto revolution began in 2008 with the release of Bitcoin, the first successful digital currency for the modern age. Since its inception, many other developers, companies, and now countries have developed and released their own cryptocurrency to compete in the ever-growing market. What is often overlooked in the crypto revolution is the underlying technology that it is built upon.
Blockchain technology allowed Bitcoin and its successors to succeed where others had failed. Most people understand the built-in scarcity and decentralization components to the technology. This has allowed the technology to grant cryptocurrencies its value. Blockchain technology is not limited to the digital currencies that drive its development.
To understand where the technology is going we must understand what it is. Blockchain technology is a new method of structuring databases. Traditional databases are structured in what is known as tables. Tables allow for the information stored within a database to be easily accessed, referenced, sorted, among other benefits that have led to its dominance as a storage format. In contrast, blockchain technology stores information in chunks referred to as blocks. Each block has a specific size that, once reached, will then create a new block chained to its predecessor.
These chains of blocks form a timeline of data. One that once decentralized cannot be altered without great effort. Why can it not be altered? A decentralized network does not feature a central archive or master copy to be referenced and accessed. Rather, each iteration or node of the network has a part of the data or a complete set of the data in blockchain’s case.
When new information is added to the network, it is verified by miners before being added to each of the nodes. In the event that a person or group alters a node, the network will determine that the node does not match other nodes. Thus, determining that it is a faulty node that can be excluded from the network. In the case of blockchain technology, this means each node contains a full chained timeline of data.
Cryptocurrency function using this technology to store a ledger of transactions at each node, as previously stated. This ledger determines who is in possession of what unique data, IE a coin or fraction of a coin. This is not the limit to the technology as any database can be constructed utilizing blockchain technology rather than tables.
Without being decentralized, this network will not enjoy the added security benefits of decentralization, but it will maintain a timeline of data. What this means is the technology can be utilized in many different ways. This variety of applications is driving the current trend of innovation.
One big example of the utilization of this technology is in the gambling industry. Blockchain gambling sites utilizing the blockchain technology to streamline the data, eliminate account losses (IE no more where did my money go), and prevent outside forces from tampering with accounts and data.
This allows for blockchain gambling sites to have additional stability that other sites do not enjoy. As the system is decentralized, it also grants users an added level of security when placing bets. It further allows users to remain anonymous and thus does not have to tie their name or a bank account to their betting account. That is in addition to benefits that are inherent to cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies allow for anonymous betting and retrieval of funds. Your data is not collected because it cannot be associated with you as a person. Without the context you provide the data cannot be correlated, rendering it noise. When coins need to be moved, one can do so across national borders without the purview of prying eyes.
Other companies have taken to utilizing the technology in different ways. BurstIQ , a medical company in Colorado, utilizes the technology to store patient information and to transfer that information security between sites.
Mediachain Mediachain utilizes the technology to create a decentralized ledger to distribute royalties they deserve. Every part of the process becomes transparent, with the added benefit of allowing the company to offer higher rates than its competitors. Without all the middlemen, middle management, and staffed employees’ other companies staff and having to pay to do the same process, Mediachain can easily afford the higher rates while turning a healthy profit.
In California, real estate company Propy Propy has incorporated the technology to create a digital registry allowing for near-instant title transfer. Some taught their ability to take crypto as payment as another innovation, but as crypto gains popularity, this is not as special as it may have been when they started accepting it.
Blockchain technology is even coming to devices thanks to companies like Filament out of Nevada who are developing ways for devices to function off blockchain databases.
Going forward, blockchain technology will continue to appear in more and more avenues of our daily lives. No different from the automobile, there will be a generation conceived that will not fathom a world without the benefits the technology has brought. It will be as familiar to them as smartphones are to us.