Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have become incredibly popular amongst individual and institutional investors across the globe.

Blockchain is widely considered to be the next disruptive technology. As such, many believe that the crypto space is a high-potential growth area that could provide massive returns of investment.

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Blockchain Technology Explained

Saving the planet, fixing healthcare, replacing conventional currency — there is apparently nothing that the shared-database technology known as blockchains can’t fix.

At least, that’s the impression given by the horde of governments, banks, entrepreneurs, and tech companies working on the technology. But what is a blockchain and why the excitement? If you’ve got 2 minutes, check out the video- WIRED can explain.

Blockchain is a promising tool that will transform parts of the IoT and enable solutions that provide greater insight into assets, operations, and supply chains. It will also transform how health records and connected medical devices store and transmit data.

We are in the infancy of a technology that has greater potential for revolutionizing technology and making a bigger impact than the coming of the internet in the 90’s. There is a use case for almost every industry.

The technology behind bitcoin could revolutionize these industries in the next few years

  • Securities. Nasdaq has partnered with Chain, a bitcoin infrastructure firm, for a pilot program to test the use of blockchain for trading shares of private companies.
  • Financial markets systems. An 80-plus member consortium of banks, regulators and technology partners — led by blockchain tech start-up R3 CEV — are developing a blockchain-platformed operating system called Corda.
  • Payment platforms. JPMorgan Chase has launched a new interbank payments platform based on a private blockchain for Ethereum, a form of cryptocurrency.
  • Bank operations. UBS and Barclays are both experimenting with blockchain as a means of expediting back-office functions.
  • Private blockchain. These are secure private networks of blockchains developed by IT providers. IBM is developing new shipment-tracking tools for shipping giant Maersk and Walmart Stores.
  • Digital rights management. Spotify acquired start-up Mediachain Labs last year to use blockchain technology for music copyright-attribution protocols. And Eastman Kodak is seeking to develop publicly accessible repositories for stock photographs and their copyrights.
  • Decentralizing the sharing economy. Arranging P2P lodging and ride-sharing — without paying middlemen, i.e., Airbnb, Uber and Lyft.
  • Medical records (private blockchain). Might blockchain finally enable long-predicted secure lifetime medical record-sharing across providers?
  • Digital public registries. Projects are under way in Rwanda and other African nations to build blockchain-based real estate-titling systems.
  • Law enforcement. Potential uses include evidence management and tools to flag suspicious transactions.
  • Voting. Proponents say an immutable record of votes cast could have the certainty of paper with the convenience of digital access and storage.
  • Securing Internet of things (IoT) devices. There are more than 8.4 billion internet-enabled devices, from refrigerators and doorbells to wearable fitness monitors and prototypical self-driving cars. Proponents argue that blockchain technology could be used to reduce the risk of many IoT devices being compromised by a single point of failure, such as a server.
  • P2P e-commerce. Peer-to-peer of all sorts, potentially threatening eBay.

Blockchain’s transparency, tamper-proof record and decentralized nature make the cryptocurrency vehicle more secure than any repository under the control of one entity.

Blockchain can be used to secure everything from financial transactions to voting and medical records. Itis like a digital safe-deposit box, yet its security comes not from secrecy or exclusive access but from being tamper-proof.

With blockchain, no one’s in charge, because everyone’s in charge. Everyone knows what’s going on, and no one can change the record. Blocks of data are immutable, so blockchains are permanent audit trails.

Cutting out the middleman was a key founding principle of bitcoin, which cuts out banks, and it’s the premise for many evolving or anticipated uses of blockchain.

Consequently, some blockchain applications might prove disruptive, posing an existential threat to companies whose business model is based on being a central source.

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Experts agree that “once you get a grip on blockchain, tentative as it may feel, you’ll begin to understand a force that could drive 21st century investment like nothing before it — even though blockchain is less than 10 years old.”

As applications evolve, a broader range of blockchain-related investment opportunities among public companies are expected to emerge.

“Coinbase will do a billion dollars in revenue this year,” the blockchain companied famous for powering one of the best-known cryptocurrency exchanges. “They have more customers than Schwab” hinting to the type of change blockchain will bring to the financial sector in the years ahead.

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