(This article is also published in Computerworld Hong Kong on December 14, 2016)
Often confused with bitcoin, a cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology, blockchain itself offers more promises than digital currency. It is also changing the fundamentals of finance.
Understanding the blockchain promise
Before blockchain, most technological advances improved or streamlined transactions and interactions. But they still follow traditional business rules and practices. For example, most companies keep their ledgers for protection against fraud and tampering.
Although well founded, it has traditionally made asset ownership and transfer inefficient. However, this solution worked in a world where trust was not a commodity.
Blockchain aims to change this; it makes trust a commodity leveraging cryptographic technology, transparency and business networks. It does this by encapsulating trust in a shared ledger that is transparent to every participant, and permanently recording all transactions in chronological order.
In a recent panel discussion organized by IBM, industry experts and observers noted that this makes blockchain a potential industry game changer.
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