Blockchain became popular mainly through the awareness created by bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The technology has given the financial industry a facelift and aggressively encroaching into several other sectors. To fully understand the many other ways blockchain can be utilized besides cryptocurrency, the basics of the technology must first be understood.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a decentralized platform for transactions which are stored in distributed ledgers that can neither be modified nor manipulated. In the fundamental technical implementation of blockchain, details of transactions are entered into new blocks which will be added to a growing chain of previous blocks called a blockchain. To ensure that there are no cases of double spending, the nodes of the platform gets a copy of the transaction ledger. Therefore, transactions can only be confirmed when the participants of the platform reach a consensus that the transaction is valid.
Blockchain is secured in through public key cryptography and all the participants of a given blockchain network are considered equal. Blockchain doesn’t have any single point of failure (SPOF) because all the nodes of the network are its servers.
Unlike traditional data technologies that are modeled to update data and delete the original, blockchain database system is modeled to store and keep both the updated and the original data. As mentioned above, transactions are entered into blocks and these blocks contain the following fields and terminologies:
Block 0 is the first block created at the beginning of the chain. They are referred to as Genesis blocks.
Blocks are numbered and these numbers are called Index
Hash value is specific value that serves as a proof that the block was created genuinely.
Previous hash value represents the hash value of the previous block on the chain entered into the current block. This is like a chain that connects the blocks together.
The blockchain network users are assigned a private and a public key that is used to facilitate transactions.
The public key encrypts messages or transactions while the private key is used for decryption.
The above described functionalities of blockchain technology make it possible for it to solve lots of problems. Some of the innovative ways the blockchain is implemented include:
Distributed Cloud Storage
The ability for blockchain to keep data in a ledger that cannot be hacked or manipulated is an indicator that it can be used as a cloud storage system. Traditional cloud storage systems are controlled by a server, peradventure the server crashes, all data is lost. On the other hand blockchain-based, cloud storage platforms like Storj can guarantee a secure and decentralized system.
Blockchain technology has been employed in voting systems. Voting done on a blockchain platform can guarantee accountability and transparency. Votes cannot be altered or rigged. In addition, voters can vote and monitor the process anywhere in the world.
Other non-bitcoin uses of blockchain include:
Blockchain can used as a digital identity management system
Blockchain is employed in the creation of smart contracts
Blockchain is used in charity organizations for transparency
Blockchain is used in the food supply chain and logistics industry for effective tracking of products.
Ifeanyi Egede is an experienced and versatile blockchain technology and cryptocurrency content writer and researcher with tons of published works both online and in the print media. He has helped several startup companies grow their businesses in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. Ifeanyi has close to a decade of writing experience, and when he is not writing, he spends time with his lovely wife, Tega and adorable daughter, Chimamanda.