Blockchain. Chances are you’ve seen the internet’s favorite new buzzword popping up with increased frequency on your Facebook or LinkedIn news feed with claims of revolutionizing the world of technology.
But is blockchain just a buzzword? Or is it the real deal?
In 2009 Bitcoin was born at the hands of Satoshi Nakamoto, an enigmatic figure that to date is still widely unknown. By using blockchain to create a distributed ledger, Nakamoto’s currency was intended to be alternative to conventional government-issued currencies.
How Blockchain Works
Bitcoin uses a decentralized peer-to-peer computer network called “nodes” to verify all transactions. These nodes create encrypted data strings corresponding to specific transactions and then store the data strings in a ‘block.’ That block is linked to an existing chain of blocks – i.e., blockchain. It is permanent and unalterable. This process safeguards the integrity of anything stored on blockchain: no one person can spend the same Bitcoin multiple times.
Since its initial creation in 2009, Bitcoin has gained – and lost – notoriety and value. With intense competition among many digital currencies, wide-ranging international government policies, enthusiasm, and skepticism from the general public, Bitcoin remains far from mainstream acceptance. But the underlying Blockchain technology has created genuine excitement around the world.
Disrupting the Way We Do Business
The decentralized verification of blockchain may be positioned to change the way traditional industries do business dramatically. Because blockchain’s verification process occurs across millions of computer nodes at minimal costs, the need to use traditional payment giants such as PayPal, Visa, or MasterCard could be reduced or eliminated.
With lower costs benefiting consumers and businesses, a trend toward expanding the global marketplace is inevitable, loosening the existing monopoly on current digital transaction methods.
More Than Just Finance
With the ability to automate supply chains, contracts, or in some instances, entire businesses, blockchain stands to disrupt more than just financial technology. Just look at Smart Contracts: more similar to a vending machine than a traditional contract – where you drop in bitcoin and out drops your chosen item (i.e., driver’s license) these programs use predefined logic to autonomously execute contracts, eliminating the need for third-party involvement and their associated costs.
Blockchain Next Steps
Despite its potential, blockchain technology is still in its infancy. With more and more attention and resources being investing into understanding its value and potential, blockchain has an exciting future to look forward to.
While some companies have added the word ’blockchain’ to appear more mainstream, its blockchain’s real-world application that should garner attention.
Adding ‘blockchain’ to your company name might give you a short jump in attention from the general public, it rarely lasts without actual blockchain technology to fall back on.
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton recently issued a warning to companies trying to cash in on companies using the word, without the technology to back it up. Remember when Long island Ice Tea changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp.., and saw stock prices jump 500% in a single day? Nasdaq has plans to delist it.
It’s not the buzzword that is impressive; its the underlying technology that will get your business noticed.
About the author:
Freedom Ahn is an expert business writer & former journalist providing blogging, ghostwriting, and content marketing services. She specializes in finance, technology, marketing, and their intersection (FinTec, MarTech).