Blockchain is one of the biggest buzzwords around. At this roundtable discussion we will examine what it is, its role for ownership and how it is verified, and lastly its potential to transform industries and politics.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger or decentralised database, which keeps continuously updated digital records of who owns what. Rather than having a central administrator like a traditional database (think banks, governments & accountants), a distributed ledger has a network of replicated databases, synchronised via the internet and visible to anyone within the network. Blockchain networks can be private with restricted membership similar to an intranet, or public, like the Internet, accessible to any person in the world.
Whilst blockchain is often mentioned in the same breath as bitcoin, we will be discussing the potential for other real-world applications. Be it voting (where a blockchain-based system could ensure security, transparency and accurate election results), healthcare (where records could be read from multiple locations or services and would contain a note of who made each addition to the record, and allows patients to take charge of their own data and choose who to share it with) to aid (the UN already has a number of blockchain-based projects which allowing them to resolve some of the issues observed when delivering aid).