Crypto currencies such as Bitcoin have
garnered most of the media coverage and hype to date but keep your eye on
blockchain this new technology is poised to change IT in much the same way
open-source software did a quarter century ago well it could take years if not decades
to fully mature blockchain will offer a new open paradigm for developing
business applications in this case transactional data this peer-to-peer
network enables an electronic ledger technology that has far-reaching
possibilities for enterprises including cross-border financial transactions open
records for tracking international cargo shipments and smart contracts that
enable business process automation through these capabilities blockchain
holds the promise of massively reducing administrative overhead while also
sharing trusted data in real time so what is blockchain it’s a distributed
ledger that is stored is an immutable record and updated with each new entry
by individuals on the network that network can be open to anyone as in
Bitcoin model or constructed as a private or permissioned ledger in an
open blockchain each node on the network processes every transaction and users
either agree or disagree with each new transaction once there’s a majority
validating a new entry the ledger is updated there’s no need for a blockchain
administrator in effect the blockchain users are the administrator each block
or record entry is linked to specific users in their entries as well as the
previous ones each entry is time-stamped and giving a unique hash as a
peer-to-peer network combined with distributed time-stamping servers
blockchain databases can be managed autonomously to exchange information
openly or privately between dispara parties the blockchain can be used to
create smart contracts or scripts that automatically execute when certain
conditions are met or blockchain users can create contracts that require more
than one set of inputs to trigger a transaction such as real estate deals
that require sign offs between buyers sellers and their financial institutions
before purchase can be completed a private or permission blockchain can be
created with it accompanies four walls or between a select few business
partners for the purpose of say keeping record transactions related to global
shipments of goods or cross-border money exchange blockchain is not without flaws
however there have been several high-profile incidents revealing serious
bugs in the application of specific software on top of blockchain networks
last year for example a dao a venture capital fund that operated through a
decentralized blockchain had more than 60 million
ether digital currency stolen through a cold exploit experts and analysts also
warn the technology isn’t fit for every transactional business process but the
technology does represent a method for creating a less costly and more
efficient way to share information between trusted users and vendors are
rushing to address their clients questions about it many companies across
a variety of industries have rolled out pilot programs and real-world projects
this year everything from financial services to health care to multiple
payments blockchain is quickly proving to be a technology to watch