The next big online thing is blockchain technology, but who will control it? During a breakout session at this month’s Virtual National Women’s Business Conference, Laura Barker, co-founder and COO, BridgePoint Technologies, LLC and co-founder and CEO, Toodlebox, LLC, says everyone and no one.
While the technology has been around for 13 years, Laura says it’s the next big online thing because it’s gained enough mainstream exposure and momentum that now businesses, economies and governments all around the world are looking for ways to take advantage of it. So what exactly is it?
Blockchain is a disruptive technology that will shift our centralized, server-based system to ones that are decentralized (peer to peer) and have the added benefits of cryptography and transparency. This introduces trust into the system and makes it so that no one person or entity is in control of the data.
Simply explained: A blockchain is a public digital ledger of transactions that records information in a way that makes it difficult to hack or alter. The technology allows a secure way for individuals to deal directly with each other, without an intermediary like a government, bank or other third party. Bitcoin, for instance, runs on a public blockchain.
Its impact on data storage…
As business owners, we spend so much time and resources trying to protect our client’s data as well as our own personal data. The blocks in blockchain technology—and the way they store data each with a unique hash—provide a new level of security at the data level that we haven’t seen in the past. In a blockchain transaction ledger, you can see each step in the chain and each step is locked once the next block is added. This makes it nearly impossible to change, hack or cheat the system, resulting in a higher level of comfort and trust for business owners.
Other potential uses…
Blockchain technology can be used for a wide variety of things:
- Identification management (for those who lose their physical identities/documents)
- Supply chain management (for tracking fruit from the farm to confirm it’s organic)
- Food recall (for tracking the supply chain to identify where the food went bad and where it went)
- Elections (for confirming who’s eligible to vote, who voters are, that they only voted once and that the intended vote is recorded)
- Healthcare (for easily transferring records from one doctor or healthcare system to another)
- Artwork, artifacts or wine (for confirming these are exactly what you ordered when they arrive)
- Donations (for ensuring the money you donate actually gets to the people who need it)
- And much more…