Probably the buzzword on the streets these days.

Ever found yourself in a random coffee shop and the people at the next table start talking Blockchain or Bitcoin and how it will disrupt everything we know? If that’s the case, the below should provide a good starting point for you to join the conversation.

Elevator Pitch

Simply said: Blockchain is a shared record book.

How we currently do transactions is inefficient and involves too many intermediaries – think banks, the government or your landlord. It’s therefore ripe for human error and fraud. This is where blockchain technology comes to the rescue.

With blockchain, transactions are recorded on a public decentralized platform using cryptography. These transactions can be of any structured information such as money, goods or property and are recorded as ‘blocks’. When a block is completed it’s time-stamped and added to the chain in a linear, chronological order (i.e. each block is connected to the one before and after). New information can be added, but previous data cannot be altered.

Blockchain is an emerging technology, but one which is rapidly growing – and some dare say it’s the most disruptive tech since the dawn of the Internet. This as it can fundamentally transform any industry with a supply chain by eliminating the middleman. There will no longer be a need for a central authority.

Blockchain ≠ Bitcoin. Blockchain is the underpinning technology which enables the existence of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin (BTC) is a popular cryptocurrency invented in 2008 and is the first and biggest use of blockchain technology.

🤯 In 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz bought a pizza for 10,000 bitcoins. At its peak value in December 2017, that same pizza would have been worth close to $200,000,000!

Core concepts

Blockchain allows every member in the network to see the one system of record. These records are updated every time a transaction happens. Trust occurs as transactions cannot be modified or deleted once recorded and as each member of the network has their own copy of the ledger.

A blockchain network has four key attributes:

  • Consensus – A convention for who within the business network can validate or approve a transaction. Each participant agrees to follow the same rules.
  • Provenance – An audit trail or ‘digital passport’. This is a record of who owns which asset throughout the lifecycle so that everyone knows where an asset came from and how its ownership has changed over time. Think for example of the tracking of a diamond’s journey from the mine to the jeweler.
  • Immutability – Once a transaction is recorded it cannot be altered.
  • Finality – Basically a consequence of the above. There’s only one source of truth, making any disputes very easy to be solved.

Key Benefits

  • Increased trust

  • Reduce risk & prevent fraud

  • Save time

  • Reduce cost

How Blockchain is disrupting industries

Blockchain in business can be used to streamline and speed up cumbersome processes, lower transaction costs, improve data security and management, and reduce fraud. Let’s take a look at its use cases in some of the industries ripe for transformation.

  • Financial Services

  • Government

  • Healthcare

  • Energy

IBM blockchain demo

  • Retail

  • Human Resources

  • Gig Economy

Glossary

Find a Course

Excited to learn more about exponential technology? Interested in becoming a machine learning engineer, data scientist or genomics specialist? Browse our catalogue of curated courses and empower yourself with the necessary tools to advance your career.

Top disruptive startups

Toolbox

  • Amazon Blockchain Template

  • Hyperledger

  • Azure Blockchain Workbench

  • Kaleido