Exploring the blockchain technology beyond Cryptocurrencies
Blockchain has been on every tongue ever since the Bitcoin boom a year back. The buzz has been on the rise since then. People buy, sell or “hodl” (a common blockchain slang for holding) these coins or so-called cryptocurrencies. Some rise with the boom while some are waiting for their fortunes to click.
We often confuse Cryptocurrencies to be Blockchain, but blockchain is not just that much. More than currencies, Blockchain provides us a distributed ledger system to store data. By and far it is one of the most secure ways to make data untamperable. The idea is simple. Every data entry is stored as a block which contains the data and a hash, something similar to an encrypted id for a given block. Also, each block contains the hash of the previous block by consent of other people in the network. Thus each block is added to the next based on its previous hash forming a chain, and thus the name Block-Chain.
The consensus can be reached by different algorithms wherein each person has to solve a cryptographic puzzle. The person adding the block pays a small fee while everyone verifying these transactions is given an award/incentive in terms of cryptocurrencies. This is where the likes of Ethereum, Bitcoin, Ripple, etc. come into the picture. Each has a different way of storing data, getting consensus and transaction style. For example, Bitcoin bases its purpose and focus on “Digital Money” while Ethereum works on Smart Contracts also helps build Distributed Applications (DApps) on its framework.
These days every system runs on data. The need for security of this data provides for amazing applications of Blockchain across every walk of our life. From primary purposes like storing land records and certificates to monitoring products across the supply chain and from finding counterfeit data to developing new financial instruments; this technology is being applied everywhere. Talking of Blockchain in Supply Chain, due to being tamper-proof, one can exactly see where a particular carton is right now, or when should he expect the delivery, thus helping save millions. The same concept could be put to use to monitor a person’s health across the globe and know his entire medical history anytime, anywhere.
Another simple example of its usage could be transactions across the national boundaries. Since cryptocurrencies have the same value around the world, it helps save a lot of time and in turn money. In the time Banks make the clearances for wiring the money, if the two parties trade in cryptocurrencies, the consignment might even get dispatched till then. And even the commission paid would be comparatively very less.
Considering these innumerable applications, it’s obvious that the number of jobs and the pay in this sector are plenty. And due to this being the early age also, in the age of the internet, best of the resources are readily available for free. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) give us the chance to learn from the best professors in the world at almost no cost along with being certified in the technology. Apart from this, initiatives by companies like Hyperledger sponsored by big guns like IBM and Linux Foundation allow us to contribute to developing Open Source Blockchain Frameworks and even building DApps for free.
However, the internet is a place where one gets lost very soon without getting much on what one wants. There are coin offerings by many budding startups in this space. Many people are looking for investors for funding their next billion dollar Blockchain idea. Many looking to learn, while many just want to stay updated on this technology. These days the sun can’t set in any tech-news section media office without having at least an article relating blockchain on their site.