Advent at Grakn Labs: Blockchain

#GraknLovesTech: 5th December 2016

Raphaëlle Roffo
Dec 5, 2016 · 4 min read

Here at Grakn Labs we love technology. So much so, that, this month, we’ve decided to share our favourite moments from 2016. Each weekday during December, we will open a window on our virtual advent calendar, and peek inside to recall some of the greatest innovation or news that the past year has brought us.

Please recommend and share our post with hashtag #GraknLovesTech if you enjoy our posts. And if you have any favourite links you’d like us share, just leave us a comment or tweet us @graknlabs!

Of all the technologies on our list, Blockchain may be the least well known, but it is definitely poised to impact data centres in the coming year. Blockchain is the technology underlying Bitcoin, and some analysts suggest its potential enterprise uses could far exceed its helpfulness in tracking digital currency.

To put it in a nutshell, Blockchain is a distributed database that is used to record an ever-growing list of transactions. It doesn’t require any permission to access it, but it’s nearly impossible to tamper with the data it holds. In other words, everyone can see what is written there, but no one can erase or change it.

In the future, Blockchain could be used to track many different kinds of data, to speed up and secure financial transactions, or even to prevent voter fraud. At this point, we’re sure you’re all as excited as we are. So here are some resources for you to dig a bit deeper into the Blockchain.

  1. To start with, here is the one documentary that got our CEO Haikal Pribadi super psyched. We think you should watch it if you want to get a good overview of the technology and its dramatic implications!

2. Why the Blockchain Matters — an opinion piece by Reid Hoffman

The co-founder of LinkedIn explains what makes the Blockchain, and, more specifically, the Bitcoin, such a disruptive technology. The financial implications are huge. In particular, although Bitcoin doesn’t eliminate the need for transaction fees, it does reduce the overall cost of the transactional infrastructure that’s needed to fulfill traditional financial transactions.

Bitcoin made the headlines earlier this year because for the first time… it was hacked! Hackers pulled a $65 million heist, and that triggered a whole lot of questions on Bitcoin’s future.

3. Because Blockchain and the Bitcoin are open source, we’ve seen the creation of a profusion of crypto-currencies (to name a few: Auroracoin, DigitalNote, Dogecoin, Omni, Nxt Emercoin, Ripple…). But of all currencies, Ethereum may be the most notable. It was created a couple years ago but only gained huge momentum in 2016. Described as a “decentralized mining network and software development platform rolled into one”, Ethereum basically facilitates the creation of new cryptocurrencies and programs that share a single blockchain. In other words, it sits on top of all currencies, and this, in itself, is pretty genius! Oh, by the way, did we mention that it was created by a 20-year old. (Yes, I know, “what am I doing with my life?”…) Anyways, if you’re still unsure what this exactly means, here is a nice infographic for you, by Angelo Milan:

You probably heard about the controversy following Accenture’s report claiming that they managed, with IBM’s help, to amend information stored in the blockchain. And from a philosophical standpoint, that’s quite contradictory to the whole blockchain ethos. Nonetheless, it is not as much of an earthquake in the sector than we would have imagined. As Jeff John Roberts points out in Fortune: “The bottom line is that Accenture’s “edit” announcement could add to the growing technology stack surrounding blockchain and, at the very least, serve as a marketing tool to encourage banks to embrace the technology.”

4. Finally, we’ll leave you with a great piece by Timothy B. Lee from Vox, where you’ll learn why Ethereum is worth over $1 billion, what type of activities it enables, and what regulatory challenges it poses for traditional institutions.

Happy reading and happy Monday!

GRAKN.AI is an open-source knowledge graph data platform that brings knowledge ontologies and transactional data together to enable highly intelligent querying of data. Querying is performed through Graql, a declarative, knowledge-oriented graph query language for retrieving explicitly stored and implicitly derived information, and for performing graph analytics and automated reasoning. Grakn and Graql will help you effectively manage and harness large-scale graph data by allowing you to model it expressively, migrate it efficiently, and to draw insightful knowledge from your deep information network.

Find out more about Grakn Labs from our website!

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