Blockchain for President

This time, the US elections have been a turn-off for many Americans. The reason, both candidates are falling short of trustworthiness and authenticity. In fact, many people are just trying to prevent either of the one from becoming the president, by voting against them. This is sad.

However, as for technology, the changes and progression are extremely positive. A lot of technological innovations are happening right now are projected to bring in more automation, authenticity, and most importantly, openness. And one of them happens to be Blockchain.

Having the potential to rule out middlemen in various industries, Blockchain has got the potential to shift the status quo by eliminating bureaucracy at every level. Combined with IOT and Machine learning, Blockchain can create systems that can order physical goods without any human intervention.

Context of internet protocol stack. Look at the position of Blockchain

A blockchain is nothing but a distributed database that maintains a list of records which is continuously growing with time. This data can be anything. Right from financial transactions, orders, requests — it can store data for multiple types of transactions.

A distributed database maintains identical copies of the data across nodes

Conventional trade is complex and takes place on a global scale today. We exchange money for everything we buy. All these transactions are then recorded but they are not made public for access. Of course, we do not want everybody to know each and every detail of our transactions. This is why we use trusted third parties to approve and facilitate these transactions. These third parties may include governments, banks, notaries, currency bills etc.

But how about a world where transactions are kept open and can be accessed by anybody on permission? This is what blockchain enables within the system.

The distributed database system running Blockchain enables collective book-keeping using the internet. Unlike the government institutions or banks who keep the books in secret, blockchain book-keeping is neither closed nor controlled by a single party.

Each node contains the exact copy of the transactions as it appears on the other ones. In other words, each node has a full copy of the ledger. Whenever a change is made or new transactions occur in any of the nodes, it is replicated onto other nodes in the Blockchain.

The books are publicly available in one digital ledger that is distributed across the network. This is Blockchain in an absolute technical sense.

As you might know that in a distributed database every dataset is replicated and stored across the network. Blockchain works upon a similar pattern as well. When it comes to Blockchain, it consists of data structure blocks. Each of these blocks may contain information related to an individual transaction.

Successive blocks that contain information to the previous block

Also, each block contains the timestamp and a hash of the previous block linking the two . This is why the name Block-Chain.

The blockchain is composed of multiple nodes. Each node owns the full copy of a blockchain. There is always a status of the ledger maintained in these nodes. The algorithm within the blockchain ensures that all the nodes continuously agree on the state of the ledger and every transaction in it. In case, when a hacker or malicious program tries to corrupt a transaction or any data related to it, the nodes will disagree and won’t come to a consensus.

The blockchain ledger does not care if the transaction signifies some amount of rupee or dollar. The user can transact anything such as property, home, retail orders, a unit of power or a digital certificate. This is determined by users who can give special attributes to a particular transaction.

User can assign special attributes

According to IBM, Blockchains can allow flawless and highly automated B2B contracts with least involvement from any third party such as a bank, notary or legal agencies.

When we contemplate a consolidated economy comprised of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT), the possibilities are simply jaw dropping. In fact, IBM is banking on Blockchain big time. Together with Samsung, IBM is conceptualizing a market where IOT devices and other peripherals interact with one another and take autonomous decisions without any human intervention.

An autonomous washer running on Blockchain that orders detergent and calls service by its own. This was showcased in ADEPT-a research project for IoT using peer-to-peer and blockchain by IBM

Now, as we understand the revolutionary potential of Blockchain, leading tech companies are already on it. The agenda is clear-make blockchain a standard mode of exchange, payment, approval and any form of barter.

In times when truth is coming out through unethical methods such as hacking and intrusion, in times when polarization is playing a big role in deciding voter attitude, something open and trustworthy within our immediate environment that influence our lives at every step may change our attitudes. We might totally end up rejecting such behavior from opinion leaders such as politicians and set normative standards for openness in everything.

In the next post, I will take up Amazon and IBM’s approach towards Blockchain. Their respective strategies, IBM’s blockchain garage for developers, Cognitive Computing and various other critical developments with which these companies are determined to seal Blockchain as the standard technology for future transactions and exchange.


Originally published at www.openxcell.com on August 29, 2016.