Among all new age technologies that could innovate the future, blockchain technology holds the most promise as it has the potential to fit in across every field of human endeavor.
Sorry if you’re hearing blockchain technology for the first time, but it is one of the most hyped inventions around the world and has already made its way down to Africa when Sierra Leone held a blockchain powered election.
In this post, we’ll cover
- What a blockchain is
- Features of Blockchain Technology.
- Popular Blockchain Frameworks
- Possible Adoptions Of Blockchain Technology
So What is A Blockchain?
A blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of transactions. It can be programmed to record not only financial transactions but virtually everything if value.
Now, let’s make this simpler.
You could actually record information and transaction between everyone in your school using a blockchain. The huge advantage is that everyone in the school could get access to the information at the same time without the network being owned by the school or any other person.
In this case, the network is decentralized and relies on work done by people on the network to keep it going.
Now, If you’re still looking for a standard definition of a blockchain, then you could settle for this.
A series of connected blocks forming a chain where each block obtain information from the previous block to form an indestructible link that can’t be faked or hacked.
Features of A Blockchain
The blockchain database isn’t stored up in any single location I.e its records are verifiable and its data transparently embedded within the network as a whole.
This simply means that it is truly made public and so anyone on the internet has the ability to access its data.
The blockchain is similar to the internet itself because of a built-in robustness and so no centralized version of its information exists for a hacker to corrupt.
A blockchain network cannot be corrupted, because altering any unit of information on the blockchain would mean using a great quantity of computing power to override the entire network.
In theory, blockchain technology creates the possibility that cybercrime will be thoroughly flushed out of the internet thereby enhancing security, ensuring data transparency, accuracy, rationality, and utility.
Popular Blockchain Frameworks
In the year 2009, a white paper describing the bitcoin blockchain was introduced, by an unidentified individual or group called SATOSHI NAKAMOTO.
This white paper proposed that by making a digital currency based on the concept of the blockchain, digital transactions will no longer be exposed to double spending.
This digital currency produced by the Satoshi Nakamoto’s blockchain was called bitcoin. It relies on a cryptographic process to create the blocks of Its own blockchain, which is referred to as mining.
Bitcoin is not controlled by any central bank or entity since the network is highly decentralized.
After being the first released cryptocurrency, bitcoin led to to the birth of hundreds of cryptocurrencies in circulation today.
Bitcoin is the largest and most used cryptocurrency.
Ethereum is another popular blockchain platform released in 2014. It was made to be much more than a payment system since it would allow anyone to easily set up blockchain-based systems.
It is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts.
According to Investopedia, smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller directly written into lines of code. The code and the agreements contained therein exist across a distributed, decentralized blockchain network.
It also operates on a proof of work basis.
The Ethereum blockchain platform opened up new opportunities for smart contract based businesses to be built on it. That is businesses where agreements between a buyer and seller can be written into lines of code and executed without a third party.
The Ethereum coin is the second most valuable cryptocurrency and is the digital currency used on the Ethereum blockchain
Ripple blockchain is similar to bitcoin, as they both rely on the blockchain to record transactions. However, Ripple’s blockchain is private, unlike the bitcoin.
Ripple has a network of nodes that validate transactions. Originally, Ripple was built to allow sending of instant and secure transactions across network participants.
Ripple creates a full payment service as banks use the Ripple network to send a cross-border payment directly from the sending customer’s bank account to the receiver’s on the other end.
Ripple’s coins are simply known as RIPPLE or XRP, which were issued rather than being mined as in the case of bitcoin.
4. R3 Corda
R3 Corda is a kind of distributed ledger made particularly for financial services. R3 Corda specializes in the management of financial agreements.
It is heavily inspired by and captures the advantage of blockchain system without the design choices that make blockchain inappropriate for many banking scenarios.
Also, Corda is different from other blockchain platforms in the sense that the consensus protocol is not achieved in the system level like on the Bitcoin blockchain. Consensus protocol in the Corda is based on agreement level depending on the firms included in the agreement.
In simpler terms, its transactions are validated by parties to the transaction rather than a broader pool of unrelated validators.
This blockchain also does not have a native cryptocurrency token.
This functions mainly as the backbone of the internet of things (IoT), another revolutionary technology.
IOTA an innovative new distributed ledger technology came into existence in 2014 and is regarded as the only technology that is able to function as lightweight distributed ledger with scalability, quantum resistance.
IOTA is different from other blockchain frameworks as it has no mining, no blocks, and no transaction fees involved.
IOTA (Miota) is the native cryptocurrency of this blockchain.
Hyperledger was initiated by the Linux Foundation and succeeded to make a name as a smart contract blockchain platform, which depends on a somewhat different approach to that of Ethereum.
Its services include Hyperledger blockchain and Hyperledger Fabric (a permission blockchain platform aimed at business use).
The goal for HyperLedger is advancing blockchain technology by identifying and realizing a cross-industry open standard platform for distributed ledgers, which can transform the way business transactions are conducted globally.
Possible Applications of Blockchain Technology
1.Elimination of Third Parties
Third parties such as the bank or real estate agencies exist because the transfer of money, land and other properties has been a procedure which requires a strong measure of trust in dated records.
Blockchain would address all trust worries and records of properties can contain an evident and approved transaction, limiting the requirement to ensure risk moderation and trust.
Digital advertising networks such as Google Adsense and PropellerAds face a lot of challenges like domain fraud, long payment models, the absence of transparency and use of bots to manipulate ads.
The blockchain is the answer to these issues as it can improve transparency between publishers and advertisers.
Also, since blockchain can convey trust to a trustless domain, it could directly link up publishers with advertisers without the need for third parties like Google Adsense.
3.Protection of Self-Driving Vehicles
The blockchain is seen by many only as an advanced ledger framework while many would even mistake ‘blockchain’ for ‘bitcoin’.
Its genuine potential as a scrambled database structure is progressive and could allow it to improve the concept behind self-driving cars.
For instance, digital security has been the major block for broad advancement in numerous ventures including self-driving vehicles.
With blockchain, security concerns for such vehicles can be improved to a large extent and public trust in the technology will grow.
4. Streamlined Payment System for Transport Workers
Blockchain technology will allow a streamlined payment system to exist in the transportation industry.
Aside from digital currencies such as bitcoin being accepted as a payment option for flight tickets, blockchain could be used to store data regarding flight or travel routes for each passenger within a specific period of time. This special data can be used to track the movement of criminals.
It can also power a digitized road map and smart contracts written into the blockchain can support the transfer of funds to drivers once a delivery has been completed.
As illustrated by the use of blockchain powered voting systems in Sierra Leone, the technology holds a lot of promise for eliminating rigging at political elections.
It could form the basis for a platform that allows users cast votes directly from their mobile devices while also ensuring that election numbers are not manipulated since everyone on the network could assess the numbers in real-time.
Leading industry specialists have defined blockchain technology as the new internet since it became evident with the bitcoin blockchain in 2009.
An MIT tech review pinpoints that “Blockchain will do for transactions what the internet did for information”. This is because transactions are an integral part of human life and the possibility of exchanging goods and services without the need for third-party intermediaries is an exciting prospect.
Young Africans who hope to pursue a tech career could venture into the blockchain space, as the technology surely is one for the now and future!