So, what’s the big deal? First, it’s a term that, not long ago, was rarely used or even heard in Supply Chain. However, hearing about Blockchain is now highly prevalent. Furthermore, it is frequently referred to as a vital and integral component of any Digital Supply Chain Strategy.
The bulk of companies does not yet have a Block-chain strategy in place. More significantly, the majority of people have no idea what it is. If you don’t know what you’re up against, how can you devise a strategy? Let’s start at the beginning, like with anything.
The term “digital money” is frequently used to characterize Cryptocurrency. While this statement is accurate, it falls short of capturing what makes Bitcoin so unique and enticing to so many investors.
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What Exactly is a Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is, at its heart, a value system. When investors purchase a cryptocurrency, they are wagering that the asset’s value will rise in the future, similar to how stock market investors buy securities in the hopes of seeing the company’s stock price rise.
Stock values are based on discounted projections of future cash flows. Because there is no underlying firm, there is no equivalent estimate metric for cryptocurrencies; the value of a cryptocurrency is individually defined by investor interest and demand.
The possibility of other investors buying the asset or the utility of the Cryptocurrency’s Blockchain is the two variables that determine the Cryptocurrency’s value.
What is Cryptocurrency, and How does it work?
Blockchain technology underpins Cryptocurrency, but what precisely is a blockchain? Because the phrase has become so widely used, its definition and importance are frequently muddled. So said, a blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions. This database (or ledger) is shared over a network of computer systems. A single approach does not control the ledger. Instead, a block-chain is maintained, and a decentralized network of computers authenticates transactions.
Proponents of blockchain technology claim that it may improve data openness, trust, and security when shared across a network. Detractors claim that Blockchain is inconvenient, inefficient, costly, and wasteful of energy.
If a rational crypto investor believes in the power and utility of a digital asset’s underlying Blockchain, they will purchase it. Moreover, all cryptocurrencies are built on the Blockchain, which implies that crypto investors are betting (whether they realize it or not) on the Blockchain’s durability and appeal.
What’s now Blockchain?
Many people are intimate with Blockchain technology as the underlying technology of Bitcoin, but its applications go well beyond digital currency.
So, what exactly is Block-chain technology, and why is it creating such excitement on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley?
What is Blockchain, exactly?
Currently, most people do business through a trusted intermediary, such as a bank. However, Blockchain eliminates the necessity for a third party by allowing customers and suppliers to interact directly.
Blockchain creates a decentralized database, or “digital ledger,” of transactions that everyone on the network can view, using encryption to make transactions safe. This network consists of a series of computers that must agree on a transaction before being validated and recorded.
A blockchain is made up of blocks; data units used to record the network’s transactional information. The following processes must occur before a block may be added to a blockchain:
A transaction must take place, and a computer network should confirm it.
The transaction must be placed in a block, meaning the dollar amount, your digital signature, and the receiver’s digital signature will all be recorded in a block after the network has approved the transaction.
To distinguish it from other blocks, the block must be given a hash. The hash of the most recent block contributed to a blockchain is also stored in this block. This block piece can be computed to the Blockchain once it has been hashed.
The specifics of this transaction will be public when the block is uploaded to the Block-chain, and anyone inside the network may check this transaction information, such as who was the sender? Who is the intended recipient? When did the deal take place? Who put this transaction in the block? And so on. The information is auditable and verifiable but not editable.
A block is nothing more than digital data. A public database is characterized as a “chain.” So, when we talk about Blockchain, we’re talking about digital data kept in a public database.
Transparency is a benefit of Blockchain since all network members have access to the same database information, which can only be changed via consensus. Moreover, even if just one record is updated, the version history of preliminary data blocks exists. As a result, data stored on a decentralized blockchain is more precise and transparent than data stored in centralized systems.
Reduced transaction fees:
Reduced transaction fees: Because all network users have access to the same version of the blockchain database, the procedure of reconciling multiple databases (ledgers) and using trusted third-party intermediaries is no longer necessary. As a consequence, a business’s costs are reduced.
By significantly reducing the cost of connections, the Internet unleashed new economic value. Similarly, Blockchain has the potential to drastically decrease transaction costs. Thus, it has the potential to become a transactional record-keeping system. If this occurs, the economy will experience a significant transformation as new blockchain-based companies arise.
Quicker transaction settlements, decentralization, and a user-controlled network: Blockchain allows transactions to be completed faster and more effectively by simplifying and automating conventional paper-intensive procedures. In addition, because records kept in Blockchain may be accessible by all network members, reconciliation of ledgers and third-party trusted intermediaries can be removed. As a consequence, clearance and settling times are reduced.
Efficiency, auditability, and traceability: Tracing an item back to its source may be difficult for businesses with a complicated supply chain. An audit trail indicates where a material/product originated from and every stop it took on its route when the whole supply chain is documented on a block-chain, from sourcing raw materials to manufacturing goods to shipping. This historical transaction data may aid in verifying products’ authenticity in a supply chain and prevent fraud.
Transactions are authorized by consensus, encrypted, and linked to the previous block before being stored in the Blockchain. Furthermore, because these transactions are kept over a network of computers rather than a single database, malicious actors cannot alter the data. Due to these benefits, Blockchain may aid in the prevention of fraud in sectors such as supply chain, Government, legal, financial services, and healthcare.
Blockchain has been widely embraced and is backed by many investors from a variety of industries.
Automated operations: Software is used to completely automate processes. No procedures are required of private businesses.
The development of Block-chain is based on open source technologies. Therefore, the activities of the open-source community are carried out.
Records are kept and maintained at all nodes of the network, resulting in a distributed architecture. If a node fails, data may be recovered from a neighboring node. Furthermore, Blockchain is flexible because it can be programmed using simple programming principles.
Why is it such a game-changer?
The technology may be used for virtually any value transaction, including money, commodities, and real estate. As a result, its applications are almost endless, ranging from tax collection to allowing migrants to transfer money home to relatives in countries where banking is impossible.
Because every transaction will be recorded and published on a public ledger, Blockchain may potentially assist in preventing fraud.
What are the Benefits of Blockchain?
Assume you’re sending money from your bank account to relatives or friends. You’d use internet banking to transfer the funds to the other person’s account number. Your bank updates the transaction records after the transaction is made. Unfortunately, there is a possible problem that most of us are uninformed of.
These kinds of transactions may be manipulated within a matter of seconds. People who are aware of this fact are frequently hesitant to use these kinds of transactions, which is why third-party payment apps have grown in popularity in recent years. However, it is precise because of this vulnerability that Block-chain technology was developed.
Blockchain is a digital ledger that has lately gained much attention and momentum in the technology world. But why has it gained such a large following? So, let’s take a closer look to understand the idea.
Why Is It So Crucial To Business And The Supply Chain?
While Blockchain was initially being developed to support Bitcoin, it has been clear that many businesses can use this technology over the past several years.
Because the characteristics of this technology (a shared, distributed, and decentralized transaction-based ledger) are appealing for electronic, real-time recording and monitoring of any transaction-based activity in any sector, it is being adopted.
The Blockchain’s Future
Despite the excitement around Blockchain and many trials, the technology currently lacks a “killer app” beyond speculation and (perhaps) payments. Moreover, block-chain proponents acknowledge that the technology may take some time to catch on. For example, while the Internet’s fundamental technologies were developed in the 1960s, it took decades for the Internet to become widely used.
However, initiatives like Facebook’s Libra, which is set to launch in 2020, suggest that the technology is here to stay, although not in the manner that its early proponents anticipated. Libra is a payment system that will utilize a “stablecoin” backed by various real-world assets. The plan is to enable cross-border payments and in-app purchases at first. It may, however, be the starting point for a variety of block-chain-based applications. Facebook, for comparison, says it’s interested in learning more about digital identification and the Libra blockchain. You may need to use that identity to log into applications, establish bank accounts, apply for employment, or verify that your emails or social media communications are really from you at some time.
These services may be developed on one of the first “public” blockchains, still evolving. Ethereum is attempting to transition from its previous security system, which was sluggish and energy-intensive, to a sleeker method that may make the platform more usable. The Lightning Network is an experimental Bitcoin system that allows cheaper payments by reducing some of the most expensive calculations. Facebook has pledged to start pushing Libra toward a fully decentralized model in the next five years, barring technical advances.
Decentralized finance, or Defi, advocates are incredibly enthusiastic about the prospect of creating additional financial services directly on the Blockchain. For example, smart contracts may be used to provide peer-to-peer loans without the need for a central authority or even to handle more complex applications such as insurance. Many activities now performed by attorneys or other experts may be automated using block-chains, according to some. A blockchain, for example, might be used to store your will. Alternatively, your will might be a smart contract that distributes your assets to your heirs automatically. Perhaps notaries will be replaced by blockchains.
Bitcoin demonstrated that it is feasible to create an internet service independent of any one business or organization. Now it’s up to blockchain proponents to show that this is a positive thing.
Conclusion on Blockchain
Blockchains may be set up in a number of ways, with different techniques for securing a consensus on transactions that are only visible to authorized users and hidden from the rest of the world. The most well-known illustration of how big Block-chain Technology has gotten is Bitcoin. Block-chain’s founders ( Satoshi Nakamoto ), on the other hand, are experimenting with a variety of additional uses in order to expand the technology and impact of the Blockchain. Blockchain appears to be positioned to govern the digital world of the near future, based on its success and growing adoption.