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WHAT IS THE BLOCKCHAIN

The “blockchain” — the engine on which Bitcoin is built — is a new kind of distributed consensus system that allows transactions, or other data, to be securely stored and verified without any centralized authority at all, because (to grossly oversimplify) they are validated by the entire network. Those transactions don’t have to be financial; that data doesn’t have to be money. The engine that powers Bitcoin can be used for a whole array of other applications.

SOME INTERESTING PAPERS ON IT

WHY DO WE NEED THE BLOCKCHAIN?

The block chain provides us with a mechanism to apply decentralized consensus to a variety of applications. Applying this decentralized concept to other technologies presents the prospect for profound future impact.

Any application that requires a system of record, whether banking, property ownership records, or election voting, could potentially benefit from a system of decentralized consensus by breaking away from the classic ‘keys to the kingdom’ problem and eliminating any single point of failure.

DECENTRALISED

A decentralised system

CONSENSUS DRIVEN

Consensus based process

VERIFIABLE PUBLIC DATABASE

Completely open system

SOME COOL EXAMPLES


Streamium.io is an app that allows users to stream videos live, with viewers paying at a per minute basis. Naturally, this decentralized Pay-As-You-Go service has attracted everything from cam-girls to “a live stream of my dog chasing a laser in their diaper.” While there is no limit for how much you can charge your viewers, it seems that the minimum payment at the moment is 1 satoshi per second.

When a futurologist hears the word space “Spacechain”, they would think of time-warping fleets of spaceships traveling across the universe. The reality, however, is somewhat less exciting. Founded by Iman Mirbloki, a 35-year-old IT specialist based in Sweden, Spacechain aims to create a decentralized space program “where everybody is welcome to join, and all technological developments are shared on an open source basis with all users”. While it all seems like hot air, future space missions calendars are accessible on the website, and Spacechain plans on making the first ever Bitcoin transaction from space to earth.

Reddit’s /r/bitcoin is rife with bitcoin trade volume & price speculators, who might be right in their assumptions at times, but rely heavily on rumors and gossip. Without any credible blockchain metrics to determine the profitability of a certain blockchain app, entrepreneurs are unable to persuade investors who are mainly interested in in-depth analysis. This is where Coinometrics comes in. By deploying “Bitmon super-nodes” across the planet, the service can accurately calculate how many transactions occur daily, as well as the dollar value of these transactions.

4Shared as a tweet by Marc van der Chijs directly from the Blockchain summit, this light bulb automatically mines bitcoin when screwed in. We’re not sure just yet whether this light bulb relies on WiFi or Bluetooth, or if it even mines enough bitcoin to cover the lighting costs, but the idea itself acts as humble introduction to the internet of things – or it could be a friendly jab at 21.co’s Bitcoin in everything attitude. Bitfury isn’t all bitcoin light bulbs, though, the company claims to have already “delivered three prior generations of silicon chips, and has a roadmap to double performance-per-watt every 6-12 months.” This may mean that by 2020, bitcoin-mining household items could be an everyday way to handle microtransactions.

3Founded by Ryan unShea & Muneeb Ali, Onename allows users to create tamper-proof digital identities for themselves by being the “first comprehensive blockchain-based identity service.” Not too different from Bitnation’s Digital Identity, these ‘profiles’ are called Passcards, and are meant to soon replace usernames and passwords online. Need to provide ID at a club? Use your Passcard. Need to access your email? Use your passcard. Need to unlock your car? Use your passcard. Need to gain access to access your top secret underground lair? …Maybe use something else.

6Gone are the days of companies and governments relying on mobile shelving companies to track their documents. Factom – which has sold well over 4,379,972 “FACTOIDS” to date – aims to use blockchain technology to simplify record business processes. Common security and compliance issues are addressed by adding another data layer for the blockchain, via their “proof of existence, proof of process, & proof of audit” procedure. In other words, Factom aims to show the world that Bitcoin transactions don’t necessarily have to be financial, it could be information.

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