Throughout the last two years we’ve heard rumblings about Blockchain, and more recently, Crypto Currency. But as these technologies graduate from buzz words to real-world technologies, many questions still remain…
This blog will be the first in a short series where we explore what pundits are dubbing the next gold rush, and quite possibly, the foundation for the Internet 2.0.
What are Blockchain and Crypto Currency?
Blockchain, as defined by Wikipedia, is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of recordscalled “blocks”, which are secure from tampering and revision. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block. By design, Blockchains are resistant to data modification. Once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered.
Crypto Currency, on the other hand, is designed to work as a medium of exchange for digital and tangible assets. It uses cryptography to secure said transactions, and to control the creation of additional units of the currency, called Double Spending—which is essentially the counterfeiting of digital currencies. Bitcoin, which we’re all familiar with, became the first decentralized Crypto Currency in 2009, gaining notoriety for its role in Silk Road.
Where does Crypto Currency fit into Blockchain?
Simply put, think of Crypto Currency as the monetary medium for “purchasing” or exchanging digital and tangible assets securely on the network, while Blockchain is the accountant tracking all said transactions in a public digital ledger.
So what’s next for Blockchain and Crypto Currency?
While the future looks bright, Cryptos still lack backing and regulation from financial institutions and government bodies, and pricing/valuation remains highly volatile. Standards have also yet to be established for the Blockchain. 2017, however, is shaping up to be perhaps the most important year for Blockchain and Crypto advancements to date, as use-case specific Blockchains and Cryptos are beginning to emerge.
Take Ethereum for example, a distributed public Blockchain network and Crypto Currency that recently partnered with the United Nations for a large-scale beta test to distribute funds to residents of a Jordanian refugee camp (read more here). Then there’s Litecoin, an open-source peer-to-peer Crypto Currency and software project released under the MIT/X11 license. The Australian Government recently committed nearly half a million dollars to Blockchain standardization, one of many standards efforts currently underway.
Stay tuned for more from 10Fold as these technologies continue to evolve, as we’ll be diving into both Blockchain and Crypto Currency progress, news, etc. during the coming weeks.