As technology continues to advance, so do the skills of the hackers that aim to alter, steal, or corrupt data. Blockchain technology may become the leading defense against these types of people, protecting data by keeping financial ledgers at individual locations. This increases security because each of these ledgers has its own safeguards.
How Blockchain Technology Works
Blockchain technology creates ‘blocks’ of data that are stored in a distributed database. This distributed database is the key to blockchain—it is much different than that average way that data is stored today.
Think about the way that the average mid-size company keeps financial data. Sales are made, records are input to the computer, and this information is shipped away to a central processing system. Some companies make use of a physical central processing system located in the building or at a remote location, while others store this data in a digital place, like the Cloud.
Blockchain technology gets rid of the central processing system or a centralized location for groups of data. Instead, the data is stored as individual ‘blocks’, which are encrypted. Each of these gets a timestamp and a link back to the block before it. These blocks are organized in groups with certain ‘keys’ which limit who can access and edit the data. This data is then stored across a network, rather than in a central server.
Each set of data comes with a key. This is a cryptography key that is unique to that set of information. When someone shares the information about the blockchain, they provide them with their unique key to the data can be accessed. For example, a cancer patient may decide to spend their remaining days traveling the world. If a Blockchain is created of their medical data, they can share their key with doctors or specialists that may treat them while they are traveling.
Advantages Of Blockchain Technology
Blockchain has a lot of things in common with the Internet—it is a decentralized platform that is run using many different levels, from individual computers to entire networks. Blockchain technology comes with several advantages, including:
- Transparency- When information is exchanged using Blockchain technology, it is verified by several individual ‘blocks’ in the chain. This maintains accuracy and transparency with records, ensuring that each copy of the record is as accurate as the original data entry.
- Accountability- When someone uses a key to alter information in a block chain, it leaves a unique digital imprint. This creates accountability that can’t be altered, meaning that whoever makes the change is responsible for it.
- Increased Security- Blockchain data cannot be changed easily. For example, if data is stored across 6,500 different computers, then a hacker would have to hack into all these computers at the same time. Even advanced hackers would have trouble with this feat.
- Faster Transfer of Information- Have you ever wondered why it sometimes takes days for a bank to transfer money between accounts? This is because it requires verification of funds and the exchange of financial data. This happens at several stages to prevent files from being corrupted. Blockchain processes information much faster because of its setup, which allows it to transfer large blocks of information quickly, sometimes in as little as ten minutes.
While it is obvious that there are several advantages to Blockchain technology, it is clear there are some limitations. This is especially as it has only been established for a decade.
How Blockchain Technology May Be Used
Blockchain technology was introduced in 2008, which has left just a decade for people to find out what sectors blockchain would affect. In the wake of the blockchain, even some of the average mid- to large-size companies have considered using it to store company data in a more secure manner.
Another major area being affected by Blockchain technology is the development of ICOs, which make use of cryptocurrency to fund start-ups in this industry. Some start-ups that have been established include Bitcoin lotteries and media-streaming sites that use cryptocurrencies. There is potential for Blockchain to be used in nearly any sector.
Blockchain is also heavily employed in the finance industry, being used for financial transactions and to send money across international boundaries without the risk of it becoming corrupted. It has even been indicated that it won’t be long before Blockchain starts to replace some banks. Without the need to verify transactions at different stages or the need to exchange different currencies across borders, there are many areas of the financial sector that can be improved.
Jobs In Blockchain Technology
Several start-ups have established themselves in the blockchain arena, choosing to use blockchain for many different applications. One example of this is Bitcoin, which works across international boundaries. It was established as a means of transferring money seamlessly between countries and creating an international currency, while keeping data safe as it is transferred across borders. Other start-ups include those offering bitcoin lotteries, money transfers, Bitcoin exchange for photos, and more. Blockchain is also being employed in existing companies that are reaching out to learn more about how using this technology can improve their business.
The good news is that as the practical use and application of Blockchain technology continues to grow, so will the job market. Specialists will be needed to manage blockchain systems and project managers will be necessary to help businesses decide where to implement this technology. There will also be jobs in development and design, community support, and eventually law, as Blockchain becomes more regulated. You may find yourself looking for someone to do my math one day and be head of one of the leading Blockchain technologies in the next.
As blockchain is still a relatively new technology, it will be interesting to see how it is used in the financial and business sectors in the future. There are unlimited opportunities for people to invest and seek jobs in this market, as well as advancements using this technology.