Blockchain Technology: The Future of Commerce and Beyond

Blockchain Technology is a common and divisive point of discussion in industry and academia alike. But the overarching question is: what is blockchain, and how can it affect our lives? 

Blockchain is an information system built on checks and balances to confirm transactions. Initially developed for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto, it is a ledger of transactions that is saved on millions of computers across the world. The system keeps the transaction ledger into information files called nodes, and sets the incentive for each node (moderated by coders, called miners) to verify the ledger with the benefit of earning additional Bitcoin or whatever currency is being utilized. The nodes build the blockchain collectively, meaning no one computer can override the consensus of all the computers across the world. This public system of checks and balances creates a verifiable, almost impenetrable system for instantaneous transactions without a centralized bank.  

Because Blockchain can be set up to store any form of information in a ledger, it has implications that reach far beyond sales on the internet. From creating publicly verifiable contracts, to buying and selling homes, to running elections, to sharing medical research, and revolutionizing the music production industry, the possibilities are seemingly endless. 

It is unclear where the future of Blockchain will bring society, but the technology is undoubtedly developing and improving each and every day. 

Author: Michele Currenti

Michele is a creative content intern in Educational Activities at IEEE. She is currently pursing her masters in Voice & Opera at the University of Maryland, College Park. She also completed a Bachelor of Science in Brain & Cognitive Science at the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Music at the Eastman School of Music. She is interested in finding the various intersections of science and the arts to better humanity.