Blockchain 101 – A Visual Demo

This is a very basic visual introduction to the concept behind a blockchain.  Anders Brownworth  introduces the idea of an immutable ledger using an interactive web demo. If you are interested in playing with this on your own, it is available online at:

http://anders.com/blockchain/

The code that runs this demo is also on GitHub:

https://github.com/anders94/blockchain-demo

What is the Blockchain

What is the blockchain? If you don’t know, you should; if you do, chances are you still need some clarification on how it actually works. Don Tapscott is here to help, demystifying this world-changing, trust-building technology which, he says, represents nothing less than the second generation of the internet and holds the potential to transform money, business, government and society.

Distributed Ledger Technology – the UK Government position

A distributed ledger is essentially an asset database that can be shared across a network of multiple sites, geographies or institutions. All participants within a network can have their own identical copy of the ledger. Any changes to the ledger are reflected in all copies in minutes, or in some cases, seconds. The assets can be financial, legal, physical or electronic. The security and accuracy of the assets stored in the ledger are maintained cryptographically through the use of ‘keys’ and signatures to control who can do what within the shared ledger. Entries can also be updated by one, some or all of the participants, according to rules agreed by the network.

 

Full report: Distributed Ledger Technology: Beyond Block chain – by the UK Government Office for Science.

The Future of Financial Institutions: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services by the World Economic Forum

 

The World Economic Forum’s analysis has yielded six key findings regarding the implications of distributed ledger technology (DLT) on the future of financial services:

  1. DLT has great potential to drive simplicity and efficiency through the establishment of new financial services infrastructure and processes.
  2. DLT is not a panacea; instead it should be viewed as one of many technologies that will form the foundation of next generation financial services infrastructure.
  3. Applications of DLT will differ by use case, each leveraging the technology in different ways for a diverse range of benefits.
  4. Digital Identity is a critical enabler to broaden applications to new verticals; Digital Fiat (legal tender), along with other emerging capabilities, has the ability to amplify benefits.
  5. The most impactful DLT applications will require deep collaboration between incumbents, innovators and regulators, adding complexity and delaying implementation.
  6. New financial services infrastructure built on DLT will redraw processes and call into question orthodoxies that are foundation to today’s business models.

 

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The analyzed business use case are: a) Payments; b) Insurance; 3)  Deposits and Lending; 4) Capital Raising; 5) Investment Management; and 5) Market Provisioning.

These key findings are explored in depth in the The future of financial infrastructure  report, based on the use case deep-dives conducted across financial services.

 

A beginner’s guide to blockchain

Blockchain is an example of a distributed public ledger; that is, a shared record system for transactions. It’s been described as “a technology that allows people who don’t know each other to trust a shared record of events”.

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The idea is that every party involved in a particular type of transaction holds a copy of the entire ledger; there are no centralized databases. Anyone can enter a transaction onto the system, and at regular intervals these transactions are batched together into “blocks.” The blocks are then formed into “chains” (hence the name) using cryptographic technology that provides high levels of security. The chronological chain of transactional information is created in such a way that each block that is added protects the information in the previous one.

Source: A beginner’s guide to blockchain by Gemalto

Blockchain and IoT: cool resources

 

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority (source: Steven Norton – WJS blog) .

Here a list a cool resources:

  1. IBM Blockchain Garage: IBM Blockchain has joined the Hyperledger Project to evolve and improve upon earlier forms of blockchain. Instead of having a blockchain that is reliant on the exchange of cryptocurrencies with anonymous users on a public network (e.g. Bitcoin), a blockchain for business provides a permissioned network, with known identities, without the need for cryptocurrencies.
  2. SkuChain: technology based on the ‘Collaborative Commerce’ vision where trade partners can interact in a friction ­free manner , gain deep visibility into their supply chain so they can make smart forecasting decisions, and not be constrained by cash flow helping them compete. Skuchain applies the cryptographic principles developed in the Bitcoin network to security and visibility for the global supply chain. As goods travel from manufacturers to distributors to consumers, the crucial electronic information of what the item is and where it came from becomes disconnected from the SKU itself. A blockchain offers a universal, secure ledger by which SKUs can attest to digitally to their orgins and attributes. Skuchain is building a system of next generation identifiers in the form of both barcodes and RFID tags to digitally secure the transfer of goods across the entire global economy. While most anti counterfeiting systems rely on copy restistant labels, holograms etc., skuchain relies on the uncopyable nature of a blockchain ledger to solve the problem of supply chain integrity Skuchain’s system will provide cryptographic proof of each SKU’s origin, supply chain than can be verified all the way to the point of consumption.
  3. Z/Yen: Z/Yen is the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank. Z/Yen was founded in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. In 2015 Z/Yen launched Distributed Futures, a senior forum dedicated to technology and disruption, for subjects such as mutual distributed ledgers (aka blockchain technology) and artificial intelligence. Current project: MetroGnomo – an open-source experimental timestamping service based on Z/Yen’s ChainZy mutual distributed ledger technology. MetroGnomo’s replicated authoritative immutable ledger provides proof that a given piece of information existed, or event happened, at a given time. The provision of impartial timing information and unique identifiers enables improved coordination, cooperation, integration and dispute resolution between and within firms. More information…
  4. Gemalto: is an international digital security company providing software applications, secure personal devices such as smart cardsand tokens, and managed services. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards.

HyperLedger London Chapter meet-up – to keep up to date with the latest market trends.

Blockchain Adoption: Industry Requirements and the Role of Prototypes