I first heard about blockchain back in the summer of 2016 through my internship with a financial services company and through this blog post. At that point, blockchain was still a fuzzy, almost fictional concept created by a mysterious figure named Satoshi Nakamoto. In a short span of two years, cryptocurrencies and their underlying
implementation technology have become hyper-mainstream. Professors, bankers, software engineers, students, even kids have hopped on the
bandwagon. But what exactly is all the hype about — are there meaningful implications of this fast-moving technology?
The first step is to clear up the confusion between bitcoin and blockchain. They are actually not synonyms. Bitcoin is the best-known type of cryptocurrency. Blockchain is a technology, a distributed, digital, and decentralized ledger, that keeps track of all transactions carried out on a peer-to-peer network. Blockchain was initially developed for bitcoin transactions, but it has use cases beyond crypto.
Reading this article from Entrepreneur, I find that many use cases of both bitcoin and blockchain are still highly conceptual. However, I was particularly
drawn to the 3rd item — ethical business practices. Because blockchain allows full transparency of all financial transactions, companies could ensure that every interaction or settlement is permanently stored in the digital network.
Other promising use cases include digitalized voting and sharing of encrypted patient information among healthcare providers.
I understand this post was highly surface level, but I plan to publish a more technical and in-depth post on the implementation of blockchain technology and its short-term future applications. More to come soon!
Here is an expanding laundry list of resources I want to use:
The original paper on Bitcoin by Satashi Nakamoto- https://bitcoin.com/bitcoin.pdf