The Tech Tree – Blockchain

Posted by Communique at 8:35 AM on Jul 22, 2019

If we see Artificial Intelligence as something that belongs in the far future, and 5G in the near future, then Blockchain is surely the present. It has been in development for decades, yet we have only recently been hearing about it as something that helps with banking, investing, or cryptocurrency. So what exactly is it?

Traditionally with the internet, information works off using a client-server network model: A user with permissions associated with its account is able to log  into a specific server to change or add information, such as bank details or privacy information. Whenever a user accesses this page, they will get the updated version of the ‘master copy’ of their entry. Control of the database remains with the site owner or their administrators, allowing for access and permissions to be maintained by a central authority. If you don’t understand anything from that explanation, that’s okay, the important part is how everything is centralized. The owner is in control.

Consider the idea that “blocks” are digital pieces of information — the most common example being transaction information: which records the time of your purchase, the date, how much you spent and what currency you used. Now think of “chains” as the databases in which this information is stored. The chains are a vast network of computers working together to store these blocks, spreading them out over a large area. Each computer in this network has its own copy of the blockchain, which means that there are thousands, or in the case of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, millions of copies of the same blockchain. The first thing you imagine about this method is how chaotic it is: the idea of spreading so much information over such a large network seems counter-intuitive when you could just have it all stored on one easy-to-manage server. You might be right, but there are problems with having centralized control, such as privacy and security concerns: what if the administrator or owner was compromised?

That’s where blockchain provides a solution, because spreading so much information across a network of computers makes it far more difficult to manipulate. With blockchain there isn’t a central hub storing that information that can be easily accessed. Instead, a hacker would need to manipulate every copy of the blockchain on the network. In this way, the method of sending information over a public network ensures private information is not compromised, but also in the case of blockchain technology, private key cryptography provides a powerful ownership tool that still fulfills the ownership and control one would have with a traditionally centralized server. Possessing a private key means YOU are in control, not the public network.

What does this all mean for someone hoping to start a venture or business though? Well, if you planned on starting an online enterprise dealing with customers, clients or any form of information holding, then using Blockchain technology will allow you to process and hold vast amounts of important, sensitive information through a decentralized network which means more security, and less time spent on maintaining administrative servers. We see already see the benefits of Blockchain technology in current applications, such as Cloud Storage, Smart Contracts and even Employee Payment Systems – all of which further increase privacy and security, ensuring the integrity of your enterprise.

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