OK, it’s been just about a year now that most everyone learned the word BLOCKCHAIN. Of course the “hot word” now is BITCOIN which is based on blockchain technology so it may be time for a remedial “class” on what IS blockchain. (bet you forgot or didn’t ever know, right?) So, lets cruise back down memory lane and refresh ourselves on all things blockchain, bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and what they really mean. Its a long read BUT very instructive to folks like us.
“Few people understand what it is, but Wall Street banks, IT organizations, and consultants are buzzing about blockchain technology. It’s hard to remove blockchain from Bitcoin, so we’ll start with Bitcoin as we work to understand this technology’s potential.
Bitcoin. Blockchain. Cryptocurrencies. Initial coin offerings.
Everyone’s talking about them, but what do these terms really mean?
As of this writing in mid-November 2017, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies hovers around $220B (with a single bitcoin trading for upwards of $8,000). Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have exploded in popularity, closing on $3B+ in funding in 2017 alone. Huge corporations — like Walmart and Pfizer — have completed successful blockchain pilots.
What is Bitcoin?
The 2008 financial crisis caused a lot of people to lose trust in banks as trusted third parties. Many questioned whether banks were the best guardians of the global financial system. Bad investment decisions by major banks had proved catastrophic, with rippling consequences.
Bitcoin — also proposed in 2008 — presented something of an alternative.
According to its whitepaper, Bitcoin was a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” It would allow for online payments [to move] from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
In other words, Bitcoin made digital transactions possible without a “trusted intermediary.” The technology allowed this to happen at scale, globally, with cryptography doing what institutions like commercial banks, financial regulators, and central banks used to do: verify the legitimacy of transactions and safeguard the integrity of the underlying asset.
Bitcoin is a decentralized, public ledger. There is no trusted third party controlling the ledger. Anyone with bitcoin can participate in the network, send and receive bitcoin, and even hold a copy of this ledger if they want to. In that sense, the ledger is “trustless” and transparent.
The Bitcoin ledger tracks a single asset: bitcoin (Note: “Bitcoin” capitalized refers to the Bitcoin ledger, or protocol, while “bitcoin” in lowercase refers to the currency or a unit of account on the Bitcoin ledger)…”
Full Story published November 21 at CBInsights.com
“What is Blockchain Technology”