It’s an undeniable fact that lots of technologies have tremendously improved the way we live and do business these days. Almost numerous of its kinds were developed in the past and we’re using it in different fields now.
For example, the internet that has entirely transformed the way we interact, socialize, work, and share information with each other.
According to many, the emergence of blockchain is probably the biggest tech develop after the internet that has the ability to disrupt technology.
1- What’s blockchain technology?
Put simply, it’s a distributed ledger where transactions between two parties are recorded efficiently and in a permanent and verifiable manner. You can consider it as a developing list of blocks that can also save transactions which haven’t entered any previous block.
Blocks can be considered as a lasting store of records that, once encrypted, cannot be changed or removed.
In this technology, information is distributed without letting others copy it.
All blocks characteristically contain previous block’s data transaction, timestamp, and cryptographic hash. No central company or person owns blockchain. Instead, information is stored across many personal computers so that there’s no middleman. It’s distributed and decentralized in nature so that no one can corrupt it or take it down. However, anyone can utilize the system and help run it.
2- Major features of blockchain
Though for many people, the effectiveness of blockchain is unknown, it’s important to know if you’re planning to pursue a career in this disrupting technology. Let’s have a look at the key features of it.
2.1- Distributed ledger
All participants validate the information individually without any central authority. Each and every node contains indistinguishable copies of all the information.
Each block comes with a unique timestamp which is the time when it was incorporated in the system. Timestamp acts like a variation for the hash function and no two blocks can contain the same timestamp. The timestamp is also used to evaluate whether to accept or deny a block.
The records in the system are immutable which means the information on the system is safe and tamper proof.
On a blockchain, a transaction has to be approved by each and every participant (node), else it’s rejected.
2.5- No need of a middleman
The members of the blockchain make sure that there’s no malpractice and thus there’s no need of a middleman to monitor and take care of the transactions.
2.6- Trustless operation
In the blockchain, the consensus ensures that no mal-intended or wrong transaction takes place and thus the operation is trustless in nature. So, wrong transactions don’t get validated and entered in the system.
3- What’s bitcoin?
Presently, we’re living in a huge technology expansion and one of this is certainly the most innovative product to finance — cryptocurrencies.
Popularized by bitcoin, these virtual currencies utilize blockchain technology to process transactions.
Bitcoins have been gaining a huge amount of importance over the past few years. Let’s have a look at why these digital currencies are being accepted across the world.
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3.1- Better acceptance
Today, more customers are using bitcoins because more legitimate companies and businesses are accepting them as a form of payment.
3.2- Control over capital
Many currencies and their usage outside of their native country are being restricted to an extent, thus increasing the demand for bitcoin.
3.3- Reduced remittance
Around the world, many governments are implementing policies that regulate remittance made from other countries either by writing new regulations or making the charges significantly high. This restriction of not being able to send money overseas is driving more people toward cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
As we’ve discussed earlier, bitcoins use blockchain technology which is a solid and secure technology. Users of cryptocurrencies have already started to experience the benefits of using such a robust technology. This offering of a more secure way of transacting in our present ecosystem is a huge plus.
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4- A look into blockchain’s future developments
Blockchain’s future developments will be mainly based on its robust built-in abilities. It’ll act like a tool for bringing everybody at the highest level of accountability. Here’re some major impacts of blockchain’s future developments.
In the blockchain, all information is verified and encrypted utilizing advanced cryptography, making the technology resistant to hacks and unauthorized changes. While centralized servers can be highly susceptible to hacking, human error, corruption or data loss, using a distributed, decentralized system like blockchain will allow data storage to be more robust and safe against attacks.
4.2- Internet of Things
There’re lots of systems like doorbells, buildings etc that are powered by Internet of Things. These systems are embedded with sensors, network connectivity, and software. However, as these systems operate from a centralized location, hackers can gain access to them. Blockchain comes with the potential to address these security concerns as it decentralizes all the information, which is becoming increasingly important together with the increase in IoT capabilities.
While patients’ medical information can be stored in a central location, this centralization of such personal information makes it highly vulnerable. With the huge amount of private information collected by healthcare providers, it’s necessary to have a secure platform.
With the emergence of blockchain and its implementation, healthcare organizations can create a secure database to store medical records and strictly share them with patients and authorized doctors.
4.4- Unified communications
With the implementation of blockchain, it’s possible to enable safer, faster and more reliable communications. Digital or automated communication based on pre-built algorithms is already taking place in some industries.
Implementation of blockchain can shift the entire landscape to allow authorized communications that occur more freely in the automated environment, thus enhancing the reliability and safety of the communications.
4.5- Making donations
People, who donate for noble causes, are often concerned about the fact that what percentage of their donation is truly being given to charities. Implementation of blockchain can ensure that these donations reach exactly where they actually needed to go.
Already, bitcoin-based charities are developing trust through smart contracts together with online reputation systems and letting donors see where their donations actually go through a transparent and secure ledger.
Why Blockchain is Hard
The hype around blockchain is massive. To hear the blockchain hype train tell it, blockchain will now:
5- Artificial intelligence versus blockchain
Both artificial intelligence and blockchain are major trends of today’s world and are being talked about widely.
A lot of implementation of AI can be seen today across industries — from advanced computer vision and machine translation to processing and analytics of huge datasets. Companies with adequate resources are already making use of this technology to improve their operational efficiency and increase profitability.
On the other hand, the emergence of blockchain that is equipped with distributed ledgers and advanced cryptographic tools. Popularized by bitcoin, blockchain is considered as one of the biggest innovations that have the ability to disrupt technology. Let’s have a look at a small AI-blockchain comparison to get a clear idea of the differences between these two technologies.
- Blockchain in distributed and decentralized in nature as opposed to AI’s more centralized infrastructure.
- For now, AI is like a black-box solution while blockchain tends to be more transparent in every transaction processed.
- While centralized providers own and operate a significant number of AI technologies, a lot of the blockchain players publish all their codebases as open-source code which can be inspected by anyone at any given point of time.
- AI is based on a lot of probabilistic formulas, while the blockchain is more deterministic by nature.
Presently, AI startups are being increasingly acquired by tech giants. These organizations rely on massive amounts of data for training their AI agents to gain a huge competitive advantage. Centralized AI leaves room for abuse like huge surveillance of people using computer-vision-powered technology and face recognition. Also, creating solutions based on a centralized environment needs organizations to hand over the control of their data to third parties.
6- Combining AI and blockchain
The concept of AI is heavily used for denoting computers which can work in projects where the intervention of human intelligence is required.
Technologies like machine learning, artificial neural networks, deep learning etc make this possible.
Blockchain stores digital information in a distributed and encrypted manner. It allows developing a highly secured database that can store all the information in a structured manner and make it publicly available. While humans can teach computer algorithms to increase their capabilities, the developers of AI aren’t able to predict an AI system’s way of thinking.
Put simply, we can develop the algorithm that’ll teach the computer to analyze massive amounts of data, we cannot predict how that algorithm will develop.
If an AI system’s decisions are recorded in the blockchain, we’ll receive the database and will be able to see the decision taken by the AI system and to explain their logic. It’ll also ensure the security of the information as the information stored in the blockchain cannot be altered.
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Despite the benefits of merging AI and blockchain, there’re some challenges related to security that need to be taken care of in order to make the integration successful. However, uniting both these progressive technologies has the potential to revolutionize the way business is conducted across the globe.