Blockchain is a technology for storing and transmitting information, transparent, secure, and operating without a central control body. It coincides as being the technology at the heart of the Decentralized Web and its corollary, decentralized finance.
By extension, a blockchain is a database that contains the history of all the exchanges made between its users since its creation. This database is secure and distributed: it is shared by its various users, without an intermediary, which allows everyone to check the validity of the chain.
There are different kinds of public blockchains, open to everyone, and also private blockchains, access and use of which are limited to a certain number of actors.
A public blockchain oak tree can therefore be likened to a public, anonymous and forgery-proof ledger. As the mathematician, Jean-Paul Delahaye writes, you have to imagine “a very large notebook, which everyone can read freely and for free, on which everyone can write, but which is impossible to erase and indestructible. “
Locate the blockchain
The first blockchain appeared in 2008 with the famous digital currency bitcoin, developed by an unknown man using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It is the underlying architecture.
Today while blockchain and bitcoin were built together, today many players (companies, governments, etc.) are considering the use of blockchain technology for things other than digital currency.
How it works?
All the public blockchain necessarily works with a currency or a programmable token. Bitcoin is an example of a programmable currency.
All transactions between network users are grouped together in blocks. Each block is validated by the nodes of the network called “miners”, according to techniques that depend on the type of blockchain. In the bitcoin blockchain, this technique is called “Proof-of-Work”, proof of work, and consists of solving algorithmic problems.
Once the block is validated, it is time-stamped and added to the blockchain. The transaction is then visible to the receiver as well as the entire network.
The potential of blockchain
The decentralized nature of the blockchain, coupled with its security and transparency, promises much broader applications than the monetary domain.
The use of blockchain can be classified into three categories:
- Applications for the transfer of assets (monetary use, but not only: securities, votes, shares, bonds, etc.).
- Blockchain applications as a register: it thus ensures better traceability of products and assets.
- Smart contracts: these are stand-alone programs that automatically execute the terms and conditions of a contract, without requiring human intervention once started.
- The fields of operation are immense: banks, insurance, health, and pharmaceutical industry, the supply chain of many sectors (agri-food, luxury goods, international trade, distribution, wines, aeronautics, automotive, etc.), music industry, energy, real estate, voting, etc.
Above all, blockchain paves the way for a new web, the decentralized web, and a new digital economy, the token economy. To understand their issues, it is crucial to avoid caricatures about crypto assets, which are at the heart of this revolution.
Obviously, these promises are not without challenges, be they economic, legal, governance, or even ecological.
This is why we at Blockchain France have made the choice to approach blockchain technology from all angles, without bias, and without obscuring its limits.
Originally published at https://www.globebusinesscenter.com on February 6, 2021.