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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

The future of blockchain technology

Now, as anyone who’s heard of Bitcoin or Dascoin you probably know that these cryptocurrencies are founded off of Blockchain technology. But just because you’ve heard of it doesn’t mean you know what it’s all about – and it’s something that you should know. Most of us have just figured out how to use Facebook and Instagram, however, understanding Blockchain will help you to stay updated on what’s happening in the foundation of the technology industry.  Now, whether cryptocurrencies stick around or not, it doesn’t matter because Blockchain isn’t going anywhere. But does this mean it’ll have future in mainstream technology? Well, the short answer is yes.

Why does Blockchain matter?

Why’s the buzz about Blockchain important and relevant to you anyway? Sure, you use technology in your everyday life, however, what you don’t know is that over the next couple of years Blockchain is shaking up the technology industry, changing the way information is stored and transferred. The Blockchain revolution that’s currently taking place is similar to the dot-com revolution that occurred in the 90s. Back then, no one understood the concept of the internet and what its role was in society. IN a similar fashion, this is what’s happening to Blockchain. Many people are aware of it, yet, have no idea what it’s capable of and how it will change technology as we know it.

Blockchain is a concept which is quite heavy to wrap your head around and it may take you a couple tries to fully understand what it is. However, there’s a basic explanation of Blockchain that’ll give you a decent understanding of what it is.

Blockchain matters because it’s the first decentralized and transparent database system that’s applicable to any industry. As this is a public ledger, information is publically kept using Blockchain technology. Relying on a community of computers, transactions are validating and stored on the blockchain itself. What makes it stand out is that it doesn’t rely on a government entity or financial institution to approve transactions, thus, it runs as a single entity on its own. The authenticated blockchain network of computers all agree if a transaction is valid or not using complex mathematical equations. A “block” represents a transaction record that’s been validated and once it’s been validated and accepted as true, it’s then encrypted and placed onto the “chain”. Hence the name blockchain.

The ability of blockchain being a decentralized, transparent, and secure system is an attractive feature for companies, states, and platforms looking to secure the ways they store information. With such a lucrative concept, how can Blockchain not revolutionize the fundamentals of the tech industry?

Will Blockchain redefine the future?

The security of information is always an issue in whichever industry you turn to. Whether it’s the medical, military, education or finance industry, the collecting and storing of personal information is always vulnerable to hacking and manipulation. This is why Blockchain will only continue to be used as it’s the most secure method of storing data.

Many government institutions are looking at Blockchain as a way to not only store information such as land titles, but they’re also considering using it as a way to vote. Till today, a majority of countries are relying on paper and pen to legitimize their vote for government officials. Of course, we have all seen examples where voting ballot have been miscountedor manipulated in order for a specific party to win. Though the system itself is democratic, it does not necessarily mean that what’s happening during the counting process is democratic. Now, there are some countries which implement electronic voting, however, many of us are distrustful and sceptical. Blockchain can be used to eliminate those fears as once a vote has been cast, it’s validated by a decentralized network and then permanently placed on the Blockchain where it cannot be altered.

Aside from the above example, Blockchain can also be used in other areas such as identification, health records, and loyalty payments. Essentially, every company, every institution has the ability to use Blockchain in order to create transparency and trust within their business.

Of course, Blockchain is experiencing growing pains as most technology concepts do when trying to implement themselves in society. And naturally, not all industries are quick to jump on the concept of Blockchain no matter how attractive it sounds. This lack of enthusiasm from certain industries is not necessarily due to mistrust or potential issues foreseen with the Blockchain system as we’ve seen a variety of industries taking advantage and incorporating it into their already established systems. However, for example, the financial industry is experiencing issues with adopting Blockchain technology simply because of the institution itself. Firstly, financial institutions are behind when it comes to keeping up with global web regulations. In addition, financial institutions are also not established in a way to be innovative. If reform is to be made, the levels of bureaucracy that will have to occur are a huge barrier.

So, is Blockchain a realistic alternative for the tech industry? Absolutely, as it’s proven itself as the most reliable and secure way to store and process transactions. The only question is are global industries ready and able to take on this shift? This question is easy to answer. Yes, they’re able to do it, but it’ll be a long-term transition.

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