The World As We Know It and Its Future With Blockchain
Twelve years ago the very first iPhone was invented. It is incredible how far we have come from that very first smartphone to an era of today where phones can recognize the face of an individual to the concept of wireless charging. Time continually shows humanity we have no idea what to expect from the future and ideas that Amazon that does everything from shipping food, toys, and items could start its own film production company, home security system, and much more. Society has finally come across the next significant technical advancement since the invention of the internet, which is blockchain technology.
Blockchain began as just a part of cryptocurrencies operating systems to maintain security, functionality, and create a ledger. This concept of blockchain is much more critical than any cryptocurrency ever could be, however, to fully understand the importance of blockchain let’s begin by describing its use cases in cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, the most notable cryptocurrency, considered the gold of the internet, is a currency created through mining and based on how much you contributed to the mining of each coin you receive a proportional amount of that coin which can be divisible up to 0.00000001 or 1/100 millionth. Mining costs lots of money in electricity to power the massive amounts of hardware required, which plays a role in determining the overall price of the coin. The coin’s price is determined by the amount of supply and demand like all other objects in the world, and as more use cases become available for the currency, more people demand it. Because this coin isn’t dependent on a form of metal like gold or the backing of a government or company, it remains decentralized. Decentralization allows this coin to have the potential of one day becoming the most trusted currency.
Now let’s talk about the blockchain technology incorporated into this coin. Blockchain is how the selling and purchasing of all the coins in existence are documented. From the moment a bitcoin is mined, and a percentage of that coin is given to each miner, that information is stored on the ledger and each portion of that coin is assigned a wallet for which that miner owns. Each time that miner decides to sell their percentage of the total amount of bitcoins that are documented in the ledger, the path from that seller to buyer and the next buyer is documented. So the path of going from miner to a seller, to another seller, etc. is recorded, creating a blockchain. One might wonder what if that ledger was edited or changed.
One of the blockchain’s best innovations is that each user is attached to the ledger, meaning each person who has a wallet has their copy of the ledger. Therefore, to make a change like putting all bitcoins in one wallet, an individual would have to hack and change every copy of the ledger, which nowadays involves an infinite amount of computers and devices. On the flip side, each time an individual wants to sell his or her coin, it takes time to process and can take up to an hour to fully complete because all copies must be updated. This idea of blockchain creates the ultimate record keeper, and the most significant defense to hacking the modern world has ever seen.
In the coming years, it is possible to say once corporate companies and the businesses we all use today and pay through credit cards start taking cryptocurrencies like bitcoin that traditional currencies might become useless. These cryptocurrencies can be internationally exchanged for the same fee all around, which remains much cheaper than the average credit card transaction. Governments would no longer have to print money and worry about fraud, currency devaluation, and much more.
Blockchain technology can go way beyond cryptocurrencies though with its immense value in record-keeping and security. Imagine a company like Starbucks who tries to track the process of a raw coffee bean in a farm, to the exact processing facility, to the shipper, to the precise bag it ends up in, to the customer. Starbucks could have knowledge of their supply chain and realize exactly how much and where the product is being lost, tampered with, and who it was sold to in a matter of moments when looking at the blockchain. All restaurants could implement this technology and stop the next E.coli breakout. Doctors could log all illnesses, symptoms, and treatments by the patient into one seamless database that could lead to numerous discoveries through the use of connections in the blockchain. To top it all off the ledger that finds and stores all this information is protected just like with cryptocurrencies through the copies of the ledger and innovations are always being made creating more security. The world, as we know, can be forever changed for the better because of this technology if we allow it to flourish and are open to change.