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Bitcoin, Blockchain, Buzzwords, Oh My!

An introduction to blockchain technology Blockchain.

It’s a buzzword that has gained a lot of traction in the tech world largely due to the rise of Bitcoin, which uses public blockchain technology (more on that later). But how many of us really understand what it is, let alone how it can benefit us? According to IBM, “blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network.” Let’s break that down.

Because blockchain networks are “immutable”, meaning they cannot be altered or changed, (even by administrators of the network) anyone who has access to a blockchain network has complete visibility into all transactions within the network. “It provides immediate, shared and completely transparent information stored on an immutable ledger that can be accessed only by permissioned network members. A blockchain network can track orders, payments, accounts, production and much more” (IBM). Using blockchain, businesses can track raw materials, finished products, purchases, etc., so it’s the ideal solution for someone who’s looking for more visibility throughout their supply chain. Technically speaking, each action throughout a supply chain is recorded as a block of data and linked chronologically to the transactions immediately before and after it. Because these chains cannot be manipulated, blockchains present both businesses and consumers a “ledger of truth”. Now, not all blockchains are created equally, and there are big differences between public and private blockchains. Public blockchains, like the one used by Bitcoin, can use a ton of power, making them way less energy efficient than private
alternatives. Private blockchains are governed by one organization, who
knows exactly who has access to the blockchain.

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