We have talked about Bitcoin before on The Big Idea. It may seem a little complicated to consumers who are unfamiliar with how digital currency differs from currency we accept and use in transactions everywhere. In the broadest of definitions of how this digital money works, Bitcoin uses something called Blockchain which records any and all digital transactions. Blockchain works as security over your digital currency, preventing other vendors to duplicate a bitcoin in order to avoid duplicate transactions. This is what Bitcoin and Blockchain are doing in order to make sure every purchase is authentic, original, unique, and genuine.
Before Blockchain, you could spend Bitcoin twice. You take your zeroes and ones, spend it at Target, then take the same zeroes and ones and spend it at Starbucks. It would be like making a purchase with cash, but just showing the cashier your money, then going to another location, and making a purchase by just showing your money again. Double spend digital currency continuously cropped up as an issue, and thus Blockchain was developed and introduced. This security protocol is pretty innovative, innovative enough to catch the attention of IBM, Intel, JP Morgan and several other big banks making big bets on blockchains and distribution transaction processing.
Today, these companies have joined forces to create the Open Ledger Project with the Linux Foundation, their goal being to reimagine all things where we have transactions. You’ve got ownership of art, ownership of real estate, all kinds of transactions where you could use blockchains as in a distributed way of validating high value transactions. That would be a good way to protect you from counterfeit or fraud. The Open Ledger Project isn’t proposing another crypto-currency but rather it wants to use blockchain technology to create tools that allow businesses to build a distributed ledger for anything they can dream up. In doing so, blockchain makes it easy to track any changes in the database, and difficult to forge entries or delete them. This project then also limits access to those in the Bitcoin community to a ledger. A company that chooses to implement one version of the open ledger blockchain can elect to use rules to determine who can generate transactions and who can authenticate them. In Bitcoin anyone can do this, but with this blockchain implemented there would be a closed door. This is where you run across the intersection between technology and politics.
The potential of blockchain technology will make a significant impact going forward. If you are looking to broaden your technical skillset and learn something new, you’re going to want to look deeply into blockchain technology, how it works, and how to make it work for you. Blockchain is proving itself as important to accounting as double accounting, invented and developed by the Medicis in the 14th century. Blockchain technology is already proving itself invaluable so pick it up. This is the kind of came-changing technology beneficial for all of us.
A research physicist who has become an entrepreneur and educational leader, and an expert on competency-based education, critical thinking in the classroom, curriculum development, and education management, Dr. Richard Shurtz is the president and chief executive officer of Stratfdord University. He has published over 30 technical publications, holds 15 patents, and is host of the weekly radio show, Tech Talk. A noted expert on competency-based education, Dr. Shurtz has conducted numerous workshops and seminars for educators in Jamaica, Egypt, India, and China, and has established academic partnerships in China, India, Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, Malaysia, and Canada.