The MBA Guide to IT

Episode 54 – What is Blockchain?

We don’t normally talk too much technology in these videos, but we do have a business question.  What is Blockchain?

In a previous video, we talked about how we can lock up messages with a key we share publicly and a key we keep private.  Using these keys, you can make sure that only the right people see the message and they can make sure the message really came from you and was not altered.

Blockchain brings two advances to this concept.

First, it builds a chain of records that are difficult to alter.  Every new record contains the spooky math to make sure the previous records remain valid.  Try changing an earlier record and none of the math works anymore.

This is useful in a lot of places such as supply chains.  As salmon makes its way from the ocean to the sushi bar, you might make an indelible record to show that it was handled correctly at each point in the chain.

Like any new technology, it solves real problems and other problems you might not know you had.  That’s where the second advance comes in.

Instead of having a central authority to hold and validate the records, the blockchain is stored on all participating computers at the same time.  Processing is distributed and available to anyone who participates.

Blockchain was first invented for cryptocurrency and it will be interesting to see what the future holds there.  But its uses aren’t limited to money.  I’m not sure we’ve identified them all yet.

I’m Carter Edmonds with 20CREEK.  We help you build IT you’ll brag about.

Episode #54 – 2/22/2019

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