Everyone has heard of Bitcoin more from the astronomical value it has gone up to. The digital currency which was born in 2008 is well known that the currency is virtually untraceable as it’s encrypted by in a way which makes Freud almost impossible.
Bitcoin for me is like a massive artesian open source project gone wrong. You first could mine your Bitcoin with other web developers by solving a really hard mathematical puzzle using your computer. The problem is that the processing power needed to build just one coin was massive which would mean you would burn out your computers CPU or rack up a really high energy bill as the computer is working on overtime. With anything online the open sources wizards starting looking at how to improve the speed and the energy problem to start building their pension pots.
As with anything the miners found out that Graphic cards could run the mining quicker and with less power, however the chips where still not up to speed. A chip was made which can handle this and rapidly sped up the process. You now can mine Bitcoin through shared cloud based systems which allows you to process and work on building your coin in which you get a share.
So that’s Bitcoin and a very brief history of. To make the process of buying and selling/trading of coins a form of encryption need to be created to allow you to trade. However with standard coding there was always a floor and a backdoor which would allow a hacker to breach your security and hack your details. Blockchain how was developed which is a continuously growing set list of records which are aptly called Blocks which are linked and then secured using cryptography.
Each block has a cryptographic hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. Blockchains are resistant to modification of the data. In a nutshell if you use Blockchain for your e-commerce website for example each part of the transaction can be created into a Block which cannot be altered or modified effectively a permanent document ledger.
When I first read about this I thought this must be taken up by the banks straightaway as this could prevent credit card Freud and make transfers and transactions very secure. It then turns out that the banks aren’t quite ready for it and a big indication for this was China turning round and saying that its Central Bank doesn’t trust Bitcoins decentralised currency’s and effectively banned Bitcoin from China. This caused Bitcoin to plummet in value almost instantly. (It has now bounced back).
If the banks are not going to adopt it then other industries potentially should look at Blockchain surely? Well it’s definitely been considering particularly outside of the Digital Currency side of things. Security with data is big on everyone lips and at the moment with recent hacking of Logistics companies and the NHS it seems fitting that Blockchain can be used now to help encrypt your personal data as well as key data which is critical for a supply chain.
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Big Data & the Supply Chain
When I first heard of the Digitalisation of Logistics having worked in Logistics in IT working on digital products, I thought how can Blockchain possibly be used? It’s quite simple. There are regulations Shipping lines must conform to, logistics companies could be moving military equipment around or high-tech products. At the moment if you hack a logistics company you can find out pretty much the movement of the shipment.
For example, you can find out Country of Origin, the full break down of the goods for customs, value of the shipment, weights, dims, where it’s going almost the exact route who placed the order etc… Using Blockchain to secure this data means only the people involved in handling the shipments can see the block associated to their needs, as it’s decentralised a hacker will not know where to start looking for the chain and then they would need the hashtag encryption keys to unlock view the blocks. Already shipping lines and retailers are trailing to look at issues within the supply chain. Walmart is trailing Blockchain to find the source of bad food within it’s supply chain as reported by BIFA.
Blockchain with Big Data it seems it can go hand in hand however web developers say the time it takes to run say a query on a blockchain could long than if you queried MySQL database for example.
Blockchain I think will become the future for securing data and sensitive information, I think Bitcoin would be just one of the applications for the framework. I have myself created a simple Blockchain in less than an hour with no specialist tools other than my Mac. I also think that with GDPR in the UK & Europe I feel that Blockchain will be used more to store important personal data. In theory, you could separate your personal data into their own blocks. For example, Data of Birth, where you were born in one block. Name and Address in another, financial data in another block. It would be very secure indeed.
I say 2018 will be very exciting times for this technology and my company will be looking at the other applications it can be used for other than Bitcoin. We may even have a go at this. We would be interested in your thoughts on Blockchain and the possibilities, so please do join the debate.
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Author: James Blackman