Blockchain: what it is and some of its uses

By: Antonio Juan Benítez Rojas

Léalo en español

In this article we will explain what the blockchain technology is, which is the one that supports cryptocurrencies, and you will know how it is applied by companies from different sectors to increase their production.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency

Blockchain and cryptocurrency
Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum

The issue of cryptocurrencies has been very much in vogue in recent years in various social media. We have witnessed how Bitcoin, the main reference for cryptocurrencies, went from being an ethereal concept managed by a group of enthusiasts to the last gold rush.

Like everything in life, cryptocurrencies have their defenders and detractors. The former argue that these are the inevitable evolution of money since its maximum exponents, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are safe, do not require banks or intermediaries in general, but the most important thing is that there is a limited number of them (21 million in the Bitcoin case) and no government worldwide has any interference in that sense, which is a guarantee that these currencies will not lose their value over time as it’s been the case of many currencies, including the american dollar, each time a central bank decides to print more of them.

Now, Bitcoin initially worth cents when it hit the market reached $ 20,000 in 2017, and although while this article is being written said cryptocurrency costs are about a third of that sum, some experts predict it could reach $ 100,000.

The detractors of the cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, estimate that it is a bubble and that it is only a matter of time before it explodes, as Warren Buffet pointed out , in addition to the fact that after the Bitcoin phenomenon, thousands of cryptocurrencies were created that did not have a good performance, or were mere scams created to enrich its creators.

However, the broad consensus is that these digital currencies have attracted a lot of attention and the blockchain technology , their heart and guts, has innumerable uses today. But, what exactly is it really about?

What is blockchain ?

What is Blockchain?
Blockchain

Blockchain means “chain of blocks” and is a technology that was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 in order to encode and support its cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

This technology allows the transmission of digital data in a totally secure manner and works as a kind of accounting book in which all the income and expenses of money are settled, but in this case what they record are digital transactions, with the peculiarity that it has not one but multiple independent nodes that together certify that the information is true, after which this information can not be deleted, it is only possible to add new records.

In addition, having multiple nodes, if any of them fell (i.e., if it were hacked), with only one of them working, the service would continue.

Blockchain technology cases of use

Although this technology is precisely what allows cryptocurrencies to have all the features and functionalities that have given them their fame, Blockchain is used in the most diverse contexts. These are just some of the many examples that exist:

Blockchain in the food industry. Blockchain in the cold chain
Blockchain in the cold chain

It has a spout, wings and now also a blockchain !

The European company Carrefour will use the technology to sell the chickens of their line “Quality Line of Auvergne” and plans to include it in the sale of other food products by the end of 2018, all with the purpose of leaving a record of each of the processes and stages that go through their products before reaching the final consumer, who can access this information by scanning a QR code that will be included in these foods.

Rough Blockchain

Blockchain in the diamond industry
Blockchain in the diamond industry

The sale of diamonds is often plagued by fraud and therefore the verification as to the authenticity of these precious stones used to be extremely slow. At present, De Beer and Everledger, incorporated the blockchain technology to list and track their diamonds, with the guarantee that if anyone tried to alter the records of one of their diamonds, the community would notice it immediately, so it would be impossible to commit any fraud.

Miles and miles of blockchain

Blockchain and frequent traveller programs, Blockchain and loyalty programs
Blockchain and frequent traveller programs

The wonderful frequent flyer programs have a limitation: you have to “get married” to the airline that offers them. If only there was a way to combine them to be able to use them at convenience. Wait, there is! The company Sandblock produced a platform based on blockchain that allows the creation of loyalty tokens, which can be exchanged not only for specific rewards of a brand but also for money and even cars.

Blockchain for president 2018

Blockchain during Election Day, Blockchain for voting
Blockchain during Election Day

No more paper or theft of ballot papers, because with the Polys system, which is also based on blockchain , it will be impossible to alter the results in a voting process, which will still be anonymous. Also, this system allows to perform an easy recount of the votes.

 

For everything else there is blockchain

Blockchain in the credit cards sector, Blockchain Mastercard
Blockchain in the credit cards sector

Although to this date Mastercard still does not accept cryptocurrencies as a valid payment method for its cards, it is certainly working with blockchain technology . In fact, according to a published article , it is hiring 175 people with IT experience (among them blockchain specialists ) to carry out innovations, and has already filed a patent application for an identity verification system based on this technology.

Did you like this article? Leave us your comments and share it on social networks. In our next post you will learn how blockchain technology could be the final solution to the fake news problem.

References

https://www.imnovation-hub.com/es/transformacion-digital/que-es-blockchain-y-como-funciona-esta-tecnologia/

https://elpais.com/economia/2018/03/09/actualidad/1520621514_926443.html

https://www.investopedia.com/news/6-companies-using-blockchain-change-travel-0/

 

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