Let’s create a brighter future with blockchain — together!

Blockchain — a technology to enhance trust, democracy, fair trade, smart city solutions up to a desired circular economy. A technology that is about cooperation, about sharing information to create value.

If this does not sound familiar to you, this article serves you as an introduction to the topic of blockchain for a brighter future and will help you understand the basics of this technology.

Blockchain, isn’t that the technology that crypto currency Bitcoin is based on?

Yes, you’re right! Both, blockchain technology as well as its first application the Bitcoin were supposedly created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. The creator and miner of the first block of the chain, the so-called genesis block. However, Nakamoto never revealed his or her identity to the public.

The recent development of the Bitcoin price from 9,000 US dollars to all time high 57,489 US dollars is one of the results of crypto currency raising public attention and trust within the last year. Various state institutions formally recognized Bitcoin and determined blockchain regulations, as well as many corporations acknowledged the importance of crypto currencies which is being reflected in portfolio investments and future plans to accept Bitcoin as payment method (e.g. Microsoft, At&T, Tesla and Mastercard).

Even though being the most prominent use case, blockchain technology does not only hold crypto currencies. The range of application possibilities is wide and can impact any industry: music streaming, healthcare, marketing, farming, automotive, charity and education to name a few. The implementation of blockchain ecosystems has the potential to enhance transparency, traceability, security, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

That sounds too abstract?

Here you have some use case examples to better imagine how this may work:

  • More affordable travelling and better compensation for hotel and flight services: Finding the cheapest hotel deal or flight is often very time intensive. Every middleman is adding their extra fees. Using blockchain driven solutions will enable travelers to buy directly from service providers and thereby save unnecessary fees added by middlemen.
  • More accurate medical examinations and treatments: So far, a patient’s medical history is usually not documented all in one place but distributed over several medical practitioners’ files. Lacking the complete medical history of a patient may often hinder the practitioner from understanding the medical condition to its full extend which in turn prevents from finding the according treatment to it.
  • True compensation for artists and less ticket fraud in the music industry: Blockchain solutions can prevent from illegal downloading and compensate artists properly for their songs with royalties. Moreover, venues can better prevent from sale of counterfeit tickets because blockchain makes real tickets traceable and verifiable.
  • Tokenization of knowledge: Imagine Wikipedia on the blockchain: knowledge can be decentralized and be made available worldwide, without censorship, as it happens with Wikipedia in China and Russia for instance. Everipedia makes this possible on their platform. Furthermore, they incentivize creators and editors by giving out tokens as rewards for sharing knowledge, meaning the engagement with the platform will financially compensated by becoming shareholder.
  • More efficient and credible voting: All citizens’ information could be stored on a blockchain, so they can simply login to the voting platform to be verified by the ID verifier to receive their individual key to vote. All votes will be stored on a distinct blockchain to prevent from linking the votes to the individuals. In this way, it cannot be tampered with votes and the final count of votes can be assured by consensus.

As you can see, blockchain has the power to transform society. Corporations have already shifted their attitude towards blockchain technology from experimental mode to adoption, focusing on the incorporation of technology to solve critical challenges and position themselves for the future.

Certainly, blockchain is not only a topic for programmers, experts or leaders but has even reached the level of society. As technology matures, it becomes crucial to involve professionals from all areas to understand how blockchain works, what benefits it can bring, and further, how to create new solutions to evoke positive change throughout all sectors.

And here, you come into play!

Be part of the journey, learn and understand about blockchain to identify possible cases of application. Personally, I also just started recently to dive deeper into the topic, and it is surprising how many possibilities this technology bares. Once you understand the basics, you can discover more about the topics you are interested in, get in touch with experts — you will encounter a surprisingly open network based on cooperation and sharing — and become an expert yourself!!

… but first things first: I want to give you a short introduction to understand the technology, so you can see it is not as complicated as you might think.

Blockchain for Non-Techies? Yes! — Get to know the basics

You might have heard the terms blockchain and DLT. They are sometimes used interchangeably, however, they are not the same. While blockchain is a type of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), not all DLTs are blockchains. A distributed ledger is basically a decentralized digital database being managed by multiple participants across independent computers (known as nodes). One could describe it as a database that every member can supplement (like Google Docs) but the data not being stored in a cloud but on each of the networks’ computers.

If you take block-chain literally and think of it as a DLT, it is actually explaining itself. — Hang on, what?

A blockchain is a type of database in which sets of data are stored into groups (referred to as blocks) that are then chained up one by one in chronological order: O — O — O — O — O. Imagine those O’s as the data blocks. Every time the block has reached the data limit, a new block will be created to store the new incoming data. Those two blocks are then chained up, here the dash ( — ) symbolizes the connection by chain.

Why is it necessary to build blocks of data?

Data is stored in blocks to ensure that its information cannot be manipulated. Every block resembles a closed set of data, which is then used to create a unique hash. A hash can be determined by a function that converts data into an output of fixed lengths. This implies that changing only one letter or number of a block’s data would result in a different hash output. While the input of the same data will always have the output of the same hash, a hash cannot infer the data. The next block in the chain will store the hash of the previous one to be able to verify that the information has not been changed. If now any of the information within the blockchain, let’s say on e.g. block 6, would be changed, the following block 7 and all further blocks would fail the verification since hash from block 6 is not equal to the previously saved hash of block 6 in block 7.

The result is a database in block-chain structure being stored decentralized and managed by multiple participants. Every node of the blockchain, meaning every independent computer in the system, owns a copy of the entire data stored since inception of the blockchain. By this means, the original blockchain can always be verified by consensus of the majority of other nodes. Assuming that somebody intents to tampers with the data and makes changes within a block, the fact that the exact copy of the blockchain without changes is stored in various nodes, disconfirms those changes using the consensus mechanism. Consequently, neither data inside of those blocks nor the order of blocks can be changed by any participant.

Hence, this type of data storage makes blockchain a tool to enhance transparency, security and traceability of processes. One of the key benefits of using a blockchain network is the peer-to-peer communication and transaction that does not require intermediaries.

That was a short introduction on the very basics of blockchain, but probably enough to take in for a start. I hope you found this article helpful to understand more about the topic and that it inspires you to explore how to bring change to our lives!

– Let’s create a brighter future together!