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Understanding Blockchain

Ever since the inception of the information era, we notice
cutting edge innovations through all sectors aimed at making our day to day
life easier, wherein money transactions play a major role. Although, there are numerous
software applications and internet services which make online transactions
easier throughout the globe, we notice that moving our financial assets from
one place to another goes through a time consuming unreliable process as it
uses antiquated systems which are expensive and 
could endanger our assets.  To
solve this issue, Blockchain was introduced to restructure business
transactions and to introduce better, faster and reliable forms which can be
accessed and moderated digitally.  

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“Blockchain was born
to provide legitimacy to its Bitcoin master after the financial cataclysm of
2008. At its heart is a rebellious disdain for central authoritative control,
offering instead a decentralized network of self-compliance and regulation. But
the servant has become the master, offering business benefits not envisaged
during its conception. In fact, it’s nothing short of a game changer for those
who can master it.” – Steve Treagust, Global Industry Director for Finance, HCM & Strategy.

What is a blockchain?

“The blockchain is an
incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to
record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain
Revolution (2016).

Bitcoin and

Bitcoin also known as ‘Virtual Gold’ or ‘Cryptocurrency’, is
the first decentralized form of virtual currency system that allows online money
trading without any bank or a single administration. All these transactions are
registered in a ledger that is publicly available, to ensure security and
authenticity. The technology that keeps this process functioning without any
requirement of an intermediate is the blockchain. Although, these two words
been used in the same context and are connected, they refer to two completely
different things.

How does a blockchain

Any Bitcoin trade happening between two parties is
registered in a ‘Block’ comprising details like the source, destination, time
and date. A single block registers similar transactions for a span of ten
minutes depending on the specific blockchain and its configuration. These
blocks combined form a Blockchain which is a data structure used to curate and
share a ledger of all the transactions digitally. The technology facilitates
fast, secure and transparent peer-to-peer transfer of financial assets allowing
users to immediately make and validate the transactions virtually.

 “As revolutionary as it sounds, Blockchain
truly is a mechanism to bring everyone to the highest degree of accountability.
No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that
was not done with the consent of the parties involved. Above anything else, the
most critical area where Blockchain helps is to guarantee the validity of a
transaction by recording it not only on a main register but a connected
distributed system of registers, all of which are connected through a secure
validation mechanism.” 

– Ian
Khan, TEDx Speaker |
Author | Technology Futurist

Public and Private

Public Blockchain

A completely  decentralized platform where anyone can create
and verify transactions. Using Crypto-economic (A combination of economic
incentives and cryptographic verification), only the valid transactions are
later register in the ledger. 

Private Blockchain

A private blockchain however, is centralized to one
organization. The system controls access and permissions and only the central
authority has the right to modify. Such a system will ensure an increase in validation
efficiency and reduction in the transactional cost.

Benefits of

Understanding and utilizing the blockchain technology
efficiently has proven to be very advantageous. Listed below, are the most
prominent benefits of the Blockchain as per Steve Treagust.

1.       Transparent

Commercial transparency can sometimes lead to delays in
business transactions and might cause a breakdown in relations. Blockchain
provides every detail related to the transaction unlike any other platform, to
build trust in the process leading to a stable relationship based on

2.       Secure

Every transaction made is verified within the network using
complex cryptography. The security system used by the Blockchain can assure the
authenticity of the information ensuring secure transactions without any form
of disruptions.

3.       Efficient

Transactions between two parties are fast and completed
without any intermediary interventions. Also, each transaction is stored in the
form of digitalized information which makes sending and moderating easy and
quick. The added ability of being able to operate on ‘smart contracts’ which
automatically triggers commercial actions based on the contract laid out,
streamlines processes and results in saving times and cost from transacting.

4.       Auditing

As every transaction is recorded and verified, it provides
an enduring audit trail for the life of an asset between parties. This plays a
vital role in verifying the authenticity of assets.

5.        Tracing

Being able to track assets or goods on the move is crucial
in supply chain management. Access to information related to the current
location of the goods and other components can help in taking action to process
the transaction faster and without complications.

6.       Feedback

Having access to the transaction details and being able to
trace the assets through out its life time could help when circumstances demand
information exchange between the two parties amid or after the transaction.
This facility helps in maintaining an asset and giving suggestions post a
transaction and for further deals.

Industries using
Blockchain Technology:- 

Although, blockchain technology dominates the finance and
banking sectors catering to 
organisations like Deutsche Bank, US Federal Reserve, Barclays Bank,
Citigroup and NASDAQ, it is can be used in many other sectors involving virtual
transaction. In the digital era, where our basic necessities are taken care of
virtually; Blockchain Technology can change many markets due to its efficient,
transparent and cost effective quality. Few of the key sectors it could make an
impact on are Healthcare – Electronic medical records, Entertainment – gaming
and music streaming, Manufacturing – Supply chain management), Commodities – Diamond,
gold, silver & metals, Data Management, Cannabis, Digital Content, Network
Infrastructure and Market forecasting. 

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