Blockchain technology, which first came to the attention of the public with the rise of Bitcoin, has been hailed as one of the most innovative technologies since the internet itself. But how does it work? What does blockchain technology do? How does it influence society? And how far along are we in its development? Here, an expert shares his insights on blockchain technology in 2022 and what we can expect from it next.
What is the blockchain?
The blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data — once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively without modifying all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of more than half of all participants on that network. The blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. It establishes trust without relying on middlemen such as banks or governments — hence its nickname, the trust machine.
How does it benefit businesses?
To understand why blockchain technology is so valuable, it’s important to understand what blockchains can actually do. Blockchain expert Peter Van Valkenburgh provided a great example of that recently by noting that a system like Bitcoin could have prevented billions of dollars worth of fraud and mistakes caused by people misplacing data. When data is placed on a blockchain, it’s verified as legitimate and then timestamped to create an unalterable record of events. Even if someone wanted to change a transaction after it had been recorded, they wouldn’t be able to because other users have access to prior versions of that data too and would notice if anything had changed.
Where are we now?
The world has changed drastically over the past decade. Communication is faster, content is more abundant, and technology plays a larger role than ever before. Blockchain technology played a vital role in shaping our current modern-day society. We are now able to connect with others on an entirely new level while learning about potential dangers to our safety as well as opportunities to improve our daily lives. This is all thanks to blockchain technology. How did we get here? What can we expect for ourselves and for others in ten years? To answer these questions, let’s take a closer look at what blockchain technology has provided us so far.
What will happen in 2022?
Back in 2010, an ex-Google employee decided to create something that would change how we use technology for decades to come. He called it Bitcoin and launched it on January 3rd of that year. Eight years later, as people are using blockchain technology (the platform upon which Bitcoin is built) to launch businesses and secure smart contracts, no one could have imagined what was coming. Back in 2013, when Bitcoin was worth $1 per coin and Dogecoin was a meme rather than a digital currency, no one could’ve guessed they’d be talking about cryptocurrency so seriously just five years later. In fact, blockchain technology is looking like one of the most promising breakthroughs since personal computers were invented — a truly revolutionary change to how we interact with technology.