It was 2008 when the idea of bitcoin, criptomoeda used for virtual transactions, was published on the internet. But for it to be usable, a basis was needed to avoid undue duplication of digital money. Therefore, the very founder of the coin, identified on the internet only as Satoshi Nakamoto, thought of blockchain technology. It is a reason book that works with a network of virtual blocks with information. Each new information is recorded and linked to the antecedent, in order to become theoretically immutable.
Nakamoto developed the idea during a global economic crisis - driven by the great crisis of 2008 in the United States. Because of this, a new banking scenario has attracted the attention of large entrepreneurs
One of the main attractions of bitcoin transactions is that the currency is decentralized. This means that the transfer is done directly - without any intermediary, such as banks or regulatory institutions. The currency is also not monitored by governments, since it works independently and encrypted (coded in a way impossible to decode using existing computers).
Organizations such as Fedex, Walmart, Nestlé and Amazon are conducting tests to implement the technology in their services. Walmart, for example, has partnered with IBM since 2016 to optimize its activities with the use of blockchain. Thanks to digital registration technology, the tracking time for the supply of sleeves to the multinational has decreased from 7 days to only 1.
How blockchain works
In order for the transactions using bitcoin to be performed, a system that prevents the copying and alteration of data has been developed, whose name is blockchain. In other words, this data network makes it difficult for users to lie about their actions, or commit fraud by spending the same amount twice.
By means of blocks with advanced security, the contents of the transactions are protected and stored in a high security system. This technology can be compared to a large library, since its contents are stored publicly and anyone can view the financial movements.
In order to organize the system, the miners - responsible for assembling the blockchain chain and validating the blocks - gather the transactions in blocks, and one is connected to the other by means of a link called "hash", which is like the fingerprint of a file. The back block always contains new content plus the hash of the previous one, thus creating a seal that is intended to check if the block has changed.
However, any transaction made by blockchain technology is only authenticated when a block is filled. Which means that virtual money can take a while to get "in the hands" of the other person. But, when it arrives, it is in a unique way, without the possibility of the value being duplicated.
Each transaction is recorded in ledger, called ledger. In it, nothing can be deleted, which means that any and all financial movements made by users remain in the system.
5 practical blockchain applications
Although the technology has been thought by Nakamoto for a totally virtual environment, real organizations are benefiting from the use of the chain. See 5 examples of how great a data network is useful.
Make international payments
With the use of blockchain, making international payments can become faster and more efficient. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has created a payment system based on the criptomoeda Ethereum, a platform that contracts and decentralized applications through blockchain technology.
Another example is that IBM, an IT giant, has developed a way to help financial institutions process international payments through blockchain to leverage accounting technology and provide greater transparency for all those involved in the banking process . Smart contracts would make people in different corners of the world communicate directly in the system.
Despite being an innovation that would facilitate international processes and enable users to have more control over their money movements, few banks are embracing the idea. If the blockchain is used, the expenses would be reduced by billions.
Secure auto insurance
With major automakers, such as Volkswagen and Ford, mobilizing to develop standalone cars, MIT Media Lab is working in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute to create insurance for this model vehicle.
With the blockchain, car owners and manufacturers would have their data grouped into reliable, secure blocks, as well as insurance information. This change would be relevant because it provides everything one needs to know in a virtual network, such as location information and vehicle density. A possible linkage of payments by virtual system would also allow services based on fees, such as tolls and parking, to be reduced.
The election system has always been the subject of questions, whether physical or electronic. In March last year, a district of the African country Sierra Leone upgraded its voting process to the digital model. The Freetown district stored the votes through blockchain technology, where each vote was recorded in a private block, accessed only by the officials who would make the bill.
Another example is the application developed by the California-based Democracy Earth Foundation called Sovereign. From it, votes are recorded in blockchain so that they are counted safely. With this, voters can vote by electronic keys, with a specific number of votes and candidates. This prevents the manipulation of results. However, the technology has not yet been adopted in large-scale voting.
Games by themselves are already becoming highly technological, with ultra-realistic graphics and increased player-computer interactivity. With the blockchain, however, players may have much more control of the fictional universe they participate in.
US game developer Tapinator has created a painting game called BitPainting that allows users to share their creations in a digital way. Crypto-callable calls are sold with the use of bitcoin.
To prove that users are willing to adapt to the new model, the Chimaera gaming platform has raised more than 1.5 million dollars in bitcoin during the pre-sale of its service.
Sustainable Energy Sharing
It is also possible to help save the planet with the use of blockchain. New York-based energy company LO3 Energy is using technology to innovate the way energy passes from the generator to the consumer.
The company has developed a smartphone application that facilitates communication between neighbors and local establishments to find better solutions for energy use on their properties.
Individuals who own solar panels are able to sell, through the application, some of that energy and environmental credits, which is a symbolic reward proportional to how much an individual has aided the planet ecologically. The startup is considering developing an energy system that does not rely on other networks.
What experts say about technology
In a study by US-based McKinsey & Company consulting firm, the segments that will be most impacted by the blockchain will be the public sector, the financial market, and the retail. Those that will undergo the least changes will be the sectors of health, industries and mining. Large companies already bet on the blockchain. IBM, for example, has more than $ 200 million invested in technology for the financial sector.
According to MarketsAndMarkets, the blockchain market is expected to grow from 2018 to 2023. The industry's turnover will increase from $ 1.2 billion to $ 23.3 billion globally. The annual growth rate is 80.2%. The countries most affected by the change will be the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Japan and Australia.
Blockchain is a technology that takes the traditional ledger to the virtual world, which can help save costs and reduce the time needed for global communication. It is now a matter of time for companies to create and adopt commercially viable solutions to take advantage of this billion dollar trend.