Blockchain, the technology that makes cryptocurrency possible, is being proposed as a disrupter for several industries – not just for currency. The software behind blockchain lets users store and track information on a decentralized digital ledger. That ability could have far-reaching consequences.
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How Blockchain Works
Basically, blockchain is a database protocol that has no central record-keeping system. Instead, identical records are spread across everyone connected to the blockchain network. Each record is updated simultaneously, and transactions only occur when enough parties sign off.
There is no middleman in financial transactions but the blockchain system is valuable in other situations because it allows for new ways of keeping records and decentralizing various markets.
Internet of Things
As more devices are developed and able to talk to each other online, blockchain technology could help these devices verify the information being shared. Two companies poised to take advantage of this are Samsung Electronics and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBMC).
Online Booking Services
Booking services online or accessing music and movies could use blockchain to allow customers and service providers to connect directly. This could eliminate the need for Uber and Spotify, for example. Social media could also be enhanced by blockchain making it easier for content creators to spread the word about their offerings and be compensated for their work. In fact, the entire sharing economy could benefit from a secure database that includes ID, reviews and tamper-proof credentials.
Buyers And Sellers
The whole notion of buyers and sellers being able to connect directly could severely disrupt companies like Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZND). Blockchain could increase reliability and cut down on fraud at lower cost than anything currently available. Blockchain could be used to create virtual currency in digital games via tokens that players could transfer and use to purchase items. Online gambling could become less hacker-prone, as could cloud storage, money transfer and digital wallets.
This blockchain-based app has the potential to allow the economies of African nations to exchange goods and services in a secure and inexpensive way. This is significant because, except in a few cases, Africa trades in cash. By allowing users to do business across Africa with built in foreign exchange and business to business payment features, BitPesa currently supports payments to more than 85 countries including the U.S. and China.
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Among other things, the Golem Network allows users to “mine” for cryptocurrency by putting their computer into a network of computers doing complex calculations. When a user’s machine reaches a milestone or solves a problem, they get a small payment in bitcoin. Golem lets you rent a single PC or a large data center to create your own on-demand supercomputer. Additional reasons to tap into Golem include machine learning, graphic rendering, big data analysis, cryptography, weather and science computations.