Posts Tagged blockchain

The Future of the Blockchain

blockchain, technologyThe concept of Blockchain technology has been around since 2008 and more recently has been the topic of debate regarding whether it’s use in the financial sector was going to be limited to digital currency and financial contracts or scale and evolve to handle all transactional data and communications. Organizations are researching customized uses for specific proof of concepts to address related, but different industry goals.

The original Bitcoin technology stack had limitations and shortcomings that had to be addressed or replaced by emerging Blockchain technology consultant companies. Some have reached a testing stage and have the ability to demonstrate the technology by integrating it with other systems, while others are still assembling components and structure. Few of these start-ups are located in the United States and most are currently located on the west coast.

Through the next five years, there will be multiple distributed ledger platforms powering digital business and laying the foundation for an autonomous programmable economy. The path to this economy may not take the earlier estimated decades to deliver due to continually increasing the pace of technological advancement. The internet took decades to reach full potential but the increments between each monumental step decreased along the way. To date, it has completely altered everyday life and changes are constant.

Much has been learned since then and today industry is more motivated than ever to remove redundant, wasteful, fraudulent transactions from the original technology. The world wide web or distributed networks we have all been working on are modified off a system based on the technology of the early 90s and are now overwhelmed with data that is either leaking or being breached at every computer, platform, and application’s weak point of contact with another system.

The term “distributed ledger” is used in unison with “Blockchain,” to better describes the flexibility and support the concept of businesses as “platforms.” Some emerging Blockchain companies refer to themselves as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) business. This evolution takes Blockchain technology to more advanced alternatives for transferring various forms of data in all businesses and industries. Imagine:

  • cars that can negotiate parking space availability, receive bids on spots, calculate appropriate costs, and make the payments
  • landowners who can undeniably verify deeds
  • systems that track resume and identity through education history and credentials
  • healthcare records stored and linked to insurance, lab results, and prescription medications
  • accurate, real-time political voting systems
  • recording property such as music and art, intellectual property rights, creation dates, and avoiding potential third party claims

 

It is through the shortcomings of the Bitcoin technical architecture that alternative versions of the Blockchain distributed ledger system were discovered. Transactions can be confirmed through an automated network of computers controlled by mathematical rules resulting in transparency across industries. This is not a trend or fad but a new basis for global interaction. Take a step forward to avoid extended disruption to business processes and wasted funds for massive architecture changes later. Corporate Internet Officers should be finding a place to integrate and test Blockchain technology on a portion of their operating systems now in order to go full scale later.

The coming wave of The Internet of Things (IoT) will tie corporations to businesses and workplaces to households as well as how we travel in between.

Read What Chief Information Officers Need to Know About Blockchain

Find Charlotte’s new Blockchain Council

Join the Blockchain Council LinkedIn group

Find information on a list of 10 more of the most recent Blockchain start-ups

Learn basic Blockchain Terms

See a list of resources pertaining to these articles

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What Chief Information Officers Need to Know About Blockchain

block chain CIOChief Information Officers (CIO)s should consider the possible effects of blockchain investments against existing technologies and capabilities and be ready to move when productivity begins to outweigh the earlier hype. As many CIOs begin looking into their digital business transformation strategies, they may wonder how and where blockchain technology fits into their platforms.

CIOs at major banks and financial services companies have already launched full-scale analysis into savings potentials and possible business disruption while integrating new systems.

These are not the only areas for blockchain advancement. CIOs across all industries should understand how blockchain works, and why its limitations are spawning distributed ledger platforms ready to test the first basic integrations for the future programmable economy.

The First Step is Education

Begin by finding blockchain councils, newsletters, and think tanks that share a common goal in finding practical uses for this technology that explain substantial improvements in resource efficiency. Understand how taking advantage of this technology will drive innovation and growth in regions that have not yet modernized to this shift. Pitch your own ideas, incorporate others, and ask questions to solve development issues.

The current focus is on the following industries:

  • Supply Chain: fraud prevention, leakage detection
  • Cyber Security: messaging, signing, authentication
  • Big Data: auditing and analytics
  • Internet of Things: registration, tracking usage data, payments
  • Human Resources: incentivizing employees, real-time performance, reporting
  • Financial: settlements, post-trade data, back-office efficiencies
  • Healthcare: patient records management, security, reduced errors

Look for companies like these 10 enterprising start-ups in 2016 striving to achieve the best possible blockchain applications. One promising start-up on the east coast and based in Charlotte, NC is doing that through the creation of LinkedIn groups, network and meet up events both online and locally, up to date newsletter information, and an online Blockchain Council run by Encrypted Labs intended to be a collaborative think tank for technical experts and collective industry knowledge experts to work together.

The Future

It is through the shortcomings of the Bitcoin technical architecture that alternative versions of the blockchain distributed ledger system were discovered. Transactions can be confirmed through an automated network of computers constrained by mathematical rules resulting in transparency across industries. This is not a trend or fad but a new basis for global interaction. Take a step forward to avoid extended disruption to business processes and wasted funds for massive architecture changes later. Corporate Internet Officers should be finding a place to integrate and test blockchain technology on a portion of their operating systems now in order to go full scale later.

Read about The Future of Blockchain

Find Charlotte’s new Blockchain Council

Join the Blockchain Council LinkedIn group

Find information on a list of 10 more of the most recent Blockchain start-ups

Learn basic Blockchain Terms

See a list of resources pertaining to these articles

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3 Comments

The Blockchain Council at Encrypted Labs, Charlotte, NC

blockchain, Encrypted LabsThis council is comprised of businesses united in the development of Blockchain infrastructure for business applications. A membership includes hands-on workshops, monthly meetups, access and testing of the latest applications to develop proof of concept. Networking opportunities with technical experts and collective industry experts to avoid having to use your in-house resources or research costs, employee training for IT personnel on design, configuration, implementation based on customer needs, and how to customize and scale to suit your specific business and industry. These first experiments develop and help achieve the basics of integration.

Blockchain has been hailed as one of the most transformative emerging technologies. Pooling knowledge on the potential uses gives everyone the power to develop effective, practical applications that offer the most improvements over traditional systems.

Staying up to date regarding emerging Blockchain Technology helps discover new ways it can be integrated into enterprise systems to provide value. Topics covered in the Blockchain Council meetup and the LinkedIn Blockchain Council group will range from the introduction to Blockchain, BigchainDB, Smart Contracts, Consensus, Ethereum, Dapps, IoT, Big Data/Predictive Analytics, and much more.

block chain image.google search

Read about The Future of Blockchain

Read What Corporate Internet Officers Need to Know About Blockchain

Find information on a list of 10 more of the most recent Blockchain start-ups

Learn basic Blockchain Terms

See a list of resources pertaining to these articles

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The Future of the Blockchain

block chain logo collage.google imagesThe concept of Blockchain technology has been around since 2008 and more recently has been the topic of debate regarding whether it’s use in the financial sector was going to be limited to digital currency and financial contracts or scale and evolve to handle all transactional data and communications. Organizations are researching customized uses for specific proof of concepts to address related, but different industry goals.

The original Bitcoin technology stack had limitations and shortcomings that had to be addressed or replaced by emerging Blockchain technology consultant companies. Some have reached a testing stage and have the ability to demonstrate the technology by integrating it with other systems, while others are still assembling components and structure. Few of these start-ups are located in the United States and most are currently located on the west coast.

Through the next five years, there will be multiple distributed ledger platforms powering digital business and laying the foundation for an autonomous programmable economy. The path to this economy may not take the earlier estimated decades to deliver due to continually increasing the pace of technological advancement. The internet took decades to reach full potential but the increments between each monumental step decreased along the way. To date, it has completely altered everyday life and changes are constant.

Much has been learned since then and today industry is more motivated than ever to remove redundant, wasteful, fraudulent transactions from the original technology. The world wide web or distributed networks we have all been working on are modified off a system based on the technology of the early 90s and are now overwhelmed with data that is either leaking or being breached at every computer, platform, and application’s weak point of contact with another system.

The term “distributed ledger” is used in unison with “Blockchain,” to better describes the flexibility and support the concept of businesses as “platforms.” Some emerging Blockchain companies refer to themselves as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) business. This evolution takes Blockchain technology to more advanced alternatives for transferring various forms of data in all businesses and industries. Imagine:

  • cars that can negotiate parking space availability, receive bids on spots, calculate appropriate costs, and make the payments
  • landowners who can undeniably verify deeds
  • systems that track resume and identity through education history and credentials
  • healthcare records stored and linked to insurance, lab results, and prescription medications
  • accurate, real-time political voting systems
  • recording property such as music and art, intellectual property rights, creation dates, and avoiding potential third party claims

linkedin supply chain imageIt is through the shortcomings of the Bitcoin technical architecture that alternative versions of the Blockchain distributed ledger system were discovered. Transactions can be confirmed through an automated network of computers controlled by mathematical rules resulting in transparency across industries. This is not a trend or fad but a new basis for global interaction. Take a step forward to avoid extended disruption to business processes and wasted funds for massive architecture changes later. Chief Information Officers should be finding a place to integrate and test Blockchain technology on a portion of their operating systems now in order to go full scale later.

The coming wave of The Internet of Things (IoT) will tie corporations to businesses and workplaces to households as well as how we travel in between.

 

Read What Chief Information Officers Need to Know About Blockchain

Find Charlotte’s new Blockchain Council

Join the Blockchain Council LinkedIn group

Find information on a list of 10 more of the most recent Blockchain start-ups

Learn basic Blockchain Terms

See a list of resources pertaining to these articles

 

 

 

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7 Comments

What Chief Information Officers Need to Know About Blockchain

chain.pixabay imageChief Information Officers (CIO)s should consider the possible effects of blockchain investments against existing technologies and capabilities and be ready to move when productivity begins to outweigh the earlier hype. As many CIOs begin looking into their digital business transformation strategies, they may wonder how and where blockchain technology fits into their platforms.

CIOs at major banks and financial services companies have already launched full-scale analysis into savings potentials and possible business disruption while integrating new systems.

These are not the only areas for blockchain advancement. CIOs across all industries should understand how blockchain works, and why its limitations are spawning distributed ledger platforms ready to test the first basic integrations for the future programmable economy.

The First Step is Education

Begin by finding blockchain councils, newsletters, and think tanks that share a common goal in finding practical uses for this technology that explain substantial improvements in resource efficiency. Understand how taking advantage of this technology will drive innovation and growth in regions that have not yet modernized to this shift. Pitch your own ideas, incorporate others, and ask questions to solve development issues.

The current focus is on the following industries:

  • Supply Chain: fraud prevention, leakage detection
  • Cyber Security: messaging, signing, authentication
  • Big Data: auditing and analytics
  • Internet of Things: registration, tracking usage data, payments
  • Human Resources: incentivizing employees, real-time performance, reporting
  • Financial: settlements, post-trade data, back-office efficiencies
  • Healthcare: patient records management, security, reduced errors

Look for companies like these 10 enterprising start-ups in 2016 striving to achieve the best possible blockchain applications. One promising start-up on the east coast and based in Charlotte, NC is doing that through the creation of LinkedIn groups, network and meet up events both online and locally, up to date newsletter information, and an online Blockchain Council run by Encrypted Labs intended to be a collaborative think tank for technical experts and collective industry knowledge experts to work together.

The Future

It is through the shortcomings of the Bitcoin technical architecture that alternative versions of the blockchain distributed ledger system were discovered. Transactions can be confirmed through an automated network of computers constrained by mathematical rules resulting in transparency across industries. This is not a trend or fad but a new basis for global interaction. Take a step forward to avoid extended disruption to business processes and wasted funds for massive architecture changes later. Chief Information Officers should be finding a place to integrate and test blockchain technology on a portion of their operating systems now in order to go full scale later.

linkedin blockchain image

Read about The Future of Blockchain

Find Charlotte’s new Blockchain Council

Join the Blockchain Council LinkedIn group

Find information on a list of 10 more of the most recent Blockchain start-ups

Learn basic Blockchain Terms

See a list of resources pertaining to these articles

, ,

4 Comments

The Evolution of Blockchain: Transformation of Business and the Internet (updated 7.4.16)

linkedin blockchain imageIf you are like me, you have some general knowledge about how your computer works and are just glad that when you turn it on and press the buttons, you get the correct response to connect with your family, friends, or colleagues and get your work done on a daily basis.

I write for a living and so I live on my browser while researching countless topics and an endless flow of material accessible within a few keystrokes. The technology that makes my Google searches respond accurately amazes me. The internet has transformed our lives in ways that seem nearly magical…and then I got wind of BigchainDB (Distributed Database) and nearly choked on my morning cereal.

I have a personal friend that connects channel partners in respective industries in order to develop relationships that are beneficial to all involved. You never know who he will meet and who he will connect, but ultimately the goal is to see the sparks of like-minds create a new concept or invent new techniques that improve an industry or several at a time. Recently, he stumbled on an individual bent on customizing the blockchain concept for supply chain applications and recognized the implications to the internet, not to mention the resulting global impact on industries across the board as electronic processes are literally reinvented. Am I being dramatic? Nope.

Block Chain to Bitcoin

bitcoin, blockchainI’m getting ahead of myself. Many people have heard of Bitcoin, which is an open source public ledger of all financial transactions between companies and individuals who choose to use it. The chain lengthens each time someone completes an action, creating blocks that are recorded in a linear and chronological order. Massive data centers called “miners” across the world participate in authenticating transactions for rewards including newly minted bitcoin.

Click here to see a larger version of the infographic.

Each computer connected to this ledger network gets a copy of the blockchain automatically which includes addresses and balances on transactions from the first block to the most recently added. New blocks are extending the chain by several hundred lines about every ten minutes making it currently “over 8,000 times the length of the Bible.”

Like many things that are a bit ahead of their time, the blockchain, published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and implemented into the source code of bitcoin  in 2009, became an incredible tool that never really caught on with the general public which continued operating quite happily with credit and debit card use. However, criminal minds immediately found a way to avoid regulations regarding the use of cash for illegal transactions such as gambling or drug dealing; proof that its use merely requires some creativity and ingenuity to involve the masses.

The financial industry has certainly used it to conduct securely recorded transactions in some segments and recently began to worry about a scalability problem that would prevent the ledger from accommodating, storing, and synchronizing larger volumes of data while still being able to protect records from tampering or revision. How can they make money flow as freely as data to purge the world of credit-card fees and foreign-exchange charges on the way to its much broader connotations and why must this technology be the answer?

The Best Features of Blockchain

block chain image.google searchEvery block contains a hash of the block before it, a timestamp, and becomes a full financial history available to all users without the need for permissions. Chaining these blocks together consecutively prevents duplication of the same bitcoin making the system tamper-proof by any one party, such as individual users and government institutions, and there is no centralized organization; no “bank of bitcoin”.

The blockchain can’t be changed without overwriting all of the thousands of copies used by the miners (a large number of computers dedicated to keeping the system running) at the same time. This would require controlling “51% of the computing capacity of the 10,000 or so ‘miners’” which is highly unlikely. The cost alone to attempt to breach it would be phenomenal. The need for “unbreachable” data has inspired other attempts at cryptocurrencies with distributed databases as well. From financial institutions and department stores to personal music accounts and healthcare coverage, online data will be secure from cyber-attack, identity theft, fraud, and waste. There is an unbelievable savings potential here for literally any industry.

Blockchain Plus Big Data Equals New Companies Like BigChainDB

Now there are more than 80 crypto-ledgers out there and the blockchain concept has been continually advancing programming language to attach bitcoin-based sidechains and altchains to add assets for big data without creating more blocks on the transactional currency chain to solve the scalability issue; enter BigchainDB with the added benefit of protection by cryptography that is considered impenetrable. bigchaindb image

Take a quick look at the intended uses for Blockchain technology:

  • Variations are being tested in the music industry for royalty collection and management of copyrights globally.
  • The Harvard Business Review researched securely moving and storing “money, titles, deeds, music, art, scientific discoveries, intellectual property, and even votes”.
  • David Grace, Price Waterhouse (PwC) head of global finance, is looking at uses “to store validated ‘know your customer’ data on individuals or companies… a potentially global application that could provide more security over identity data and where that data [is] stored.”
  • Companies like IBM and JPMorgan Chase, and venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz, are preparing a shift to blockchain and network-based approaches  to complement or rebuild the current centralized financial system.
  • CoinSpark, based in Tel Aviv, wants to add messages to the bitcoin blockchain as an inexpensive way to notarize information.
  • Lighthouse, developed by former Google engineer, Mike Hearn, is using it for a decentralized crowdfunding platform on bitcoin.
  • The Economist describes new progress that not only allows for smart contracts to be executed at delivery but also “creating invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates which automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level.”

Decentralized Growth and Evolution

Blockchain architecture has the ability to unite a consensus of all transactions into a single version despite users running anonymously, having reduced interconnectivity, or attempting malicious cyber-attack. It provides a consistent history. Traditional financial business models are in for an overhaul and while some are still resisting, others conclude it is inevitable. Banking institutions are becoming an unnecessary middleman.

The world economy has long trusted this need for third-party intervention and recently that has led to global financial strife. But this “piece of innovation [is] on a par with the introduction of limited liability for corporations, or private property rights, or the internet itself. The blockchain is public and widely distributed so anyone can download a copy of it. Identities are protected by clever cryptography and the system is entirely transparent.”

All major banks have teams analyzing the impact of blockchain right now. In 2016, the National Settlement Depository (NSD) of the Russian Federation began its own pilot project based on this technology. A barrier to making this enormous change is the difficulty of finding staff who can get them up to speed on the technology. “The sort of people who understand blockchains don’t usually want to put on a suit and go work for a bank,” says Gideon Greenspan of CoinSpark.

Here is where my channel partner friend comes in to make an introduction to someone who can implement the software, integrate it into your existing system, customize it to your business, and train staff to use it effectively. The implications on return on investment are enormous and you can read the details on several presentations featured by Don Klos, Encrypted Labs consultant on LinkedIn. Charlotte, NC area has its own BigchainDB experts at Encrypted Labs, Ian Worrall and partner, Quincy Ruckert. chain abstract.pixabay

Block Chain Tech Companies

This new technology may not deal with currency at all. Encrypted Labs in Charlotte, NC has succeeded with solutions containing similar programming language and code source offered by other tech companies like RethinkDB, and adding assets onto blockchain to execute complicated tasks. These may include verifying fulfillment of contracts between participating parties with “smart contracts” and handling supply chain issues by watching over every invoice, order, or product entering and leaving the warehouse. Again, presentations created by Ian Worrall and Quincy Ruckert explaining this process can be found here.

The New York Stock Exchange purchased a stake in Coinbase at the beginning of 2016 to prepare for possible stock exchange decentralization. Banks agree that financial contracts could be decentralized through their own private blockchains as well and payment networks are enticed by the comparatively small transactions costs. New payment centers would likely begin with blockchains from the start such as Ripple Labs. This company wants to provide “secure, instant and nearly free global financial transactions” using decentralized ledgers on a platform called Prosper inspired by technology strides at Fintech. It believes the current financial system could be made more efficient. The way we transfer money has become antiquated and needs to be brought up to date the same way computer networks became a single internet.

The Bottom Line

linkedin supply chain imageBigchainDB took an existing scalable, queryable, low-latency, high-throughput distributed database (RethinkDB) and added blockchain characteristics: decentralization, immutability, and cryptographically-secure asset transfer. The result:

  1. Bitcoin transaction latency is about an hour (if you wait for six confirmations), while BigchainDB’s latency is hundreds of milliseconds or less.
  2. The small storage capacity of the Bitcoin blockchain (tens of gigabytes) is replaced with a database capable of growing to petabytes. The transaction rate can scale up to millions per second (Bitcoin handles only one per second).

The mining process of verifying blockchain transactions is what enables it to be undeniably secure proved by enduring untold numbers of cyber-attacks. While bitcoin itself requires going through exchanges to convert hard currency into crypto-currency and store it, new blockchain technology programming changes eliminated the need for this.

At the rate technology advances, blockchain will run its course and sprout other potential uses along the way. Technology companies have finally broken through to the next leap in business transactions of every kind along with a new concept of the “internet of value” and the rapidly advancing “internet of things”. I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made a point of sparking conversation. I invite you to comment on this article or act on it by checking the resources and clicking on the links I’ve provided. At the very least it is food for thought.

wavy blue color rbg stock Resources and Links:

Hepler, L., Greenbiz.com, 2015. 9 Supply Chain Techs Companies You Should Know, https://www.greenbiz.com/article/9-supply-chain-tech-companies-you-should-know

The Economist, 2015. The Next Big Thing, http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21650295-or-it-next-big-thing

The Network Revolution, Blockchain Technology Will Disrupt Financial Services Firms, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/blockchain-technology-will-disrupt-financial-services-firms/

Investopedia.com,  Blockchain Definition, http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blockchain.asp#ixzz49xKfejem
Wikipedia, Definition of Block Chain Database, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_chain_(database)

Worrall, I., 2016. Encrypted Labs, POV Blockchain PDF and Intro PowerPoint

McConaghy, T., Developer at BigchainDB, 2016.

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