Monday, 15 january 2018 | Redacción CEU
The most interesting thing about bitcoins could be found just behind them, in the blockchain technology. This system is more than a platform for the cryptocurrencies' exchange, although it constitutes its main showcase. Blockchain seems to take impulse for what is coming. Its use could mark a milestone in multitude of sectors and, in a particular way, in the financial world. Many experts claim that blockchain will transform the traditional management. What are the reasons that they argue for? How can the distributed digital accounting change the financial system?
Every day, people perform many operations without being aware that they are constantly relying on an intermediary to carry them out. The Internet arrival favored this type of actions to be completed faster and more frequently; so much, we increasingly rely on third parties for previously unthinkable issues like buying airline tickets in search engines and websites, making transfers through online banking and specialized applications, sending important work documents thanks to email or exchanging personal pictures with friends through instant messaging. This relationship is so normalized that we do not even question its reliability, but these operations may be subject to conditions and, even, to commissions. Also, are these intermediaries always infallible and reliable? Is it necessary to provide all these data to third parties? And, what if it is possible to do them without them? Blockchain aims to eliminate these third parties of the equation and reduce risks to zero.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a system of distributed register that is built through nodes, computers connected to each other that share a language and protocol and that allow the transmission of encrypted information packages –blocks– in a verifiable, efficient and immutable way between two parties. In other words, blockchain is a unique ledger where these exchanges of information and transactions are registered and archived in a way that anyone can confirm them –as long as they are public, not private networks only visible to those indicated by their owners–. This technology makes it impossible to alter these transactions without establishing new blocks, without anyone noticing or eliminating them. So that transactions are carried out, it is necessary that these nodes verify them, which implies that this system is very secure.
The bitcoin network was the first blockchain. Due to the unstoppable and exponential growth of the value of this cryptocurrency, the blockchain technology was at first eclipsed. But, although at first glance it could seem a simple digital currency exchange platform, its potential is greater. Blockchain allows to work not only with bitcoins, but also with other assets like shares, votes, contracts, documents, basic products, loans, etc. and without the need to resort to an intermediary, meaning, in a direct way –one to one–. An example of the multiple uses that the blockchain can have is the last advertisement of Kodak and Wenn, they want to use this network to create solid links between the authors and their photographs and, in this way, protect their image copyrights.