Blockchain is one of the most revolutionary technologies of our time. Since its creation more than ten years ago, it has aroused the interest and enthusiasm of many economic and financial sectors. Blockchain is a technology that allows information to be transmitted transparently and inviolably. It offers an innovative alternative to traditional centralized systems, often vulnerable to fraud and hacking. But, despite its undeniable advantages, blockchain must overcome many challenges to achieve widespread adoption.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is like a decentralized data ledger with shared security among chosen participants. It makes it possible to gather and share transactional data from different sources. These transactions are divided into shared blocks and linked using unique identifiers in the form of cryptographic hashes.
One of the major advantages of the blockchain lies in the reliability of the data it delivers; it provides a single source of truth while eliminating redundancy and increasing security. In a blockchain-based system, any attempt at fraud or falsification of data is impossible because the latter cannot be modified without the approval of a quorum of stakeholders. In other words, a blockchain ledger can be shared but not modified, and any attempted modification is immediately detected, reported, and attributed to its author.
How does blockchain work?
The blockchain comprises blocks linked in an unalterable sequence and permanently recorded on a peer-to-peer network. Cryptographic trust and assurance technology applies a unique identifier or digital fingerprint to every transaction, ensuring the system’s reliability, accountability, transparency, and security. This feature allows different types of organizations to access data and share it with other blockchain actors.
Therefore, blockchain technology is an ideal solution for any entity that seeks security and transparency in its transactions. Indeed, thanks to the absence of a single location to store data, safety and availability are improved without any central vulnerability.
What are the benefits of blockchain?
The intrinsic qualities of blockchain transactions have many advantages for its users:
- Transparency: all the information entered in the blockchain can be viewed by all participants and cannot be modified. As a result, the level of fraud decreases while the level of trust increases.
- Security: thanks to the cryptography applied to transactions, the blockchain protocol ensures the authenticity of the information. In addition, once validated, a block is no longer modifiable, making the information immutable. Finally, since the information is distributed over several terminals, the data is much more secure in the event of the failure of a network element.
- Fewer intermediaries: Blockchain reduces reliance on third-party intermediaries because it acts as a peer-to-peer network. This reduces transaction costs and reduces the risk of errors.
- Increased efficiency: Due to their agility, distributed ledgers help entities create more efficient and cost-effective processes.
- Faster Processes: Blockchain speeds up process execution for operations involving multiple parties and enables faster transactions.
- Automation: the blockchain is fully programmable: triggering actions automatically once the conditions have been met is possible.
- Data confidentiality: data is encrypted in a series of letters and numbers by a hash code. Only a defined key can read the information.
Are there several types of blockchains?
The blockchain is made up of several blockchains.
- Public blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are available to everyone and considered “permissionless.” Transactions are public, but users can remain anonymous.
- Semi-private blockchains are managed by a single entity that authorizes access to users who meet specific criteria defined upstream.
- Private blockchains are controlled by a single organization and are used primarily as test environments.
- Consortium (or federated) blockchains are the most common in enterprises. They are controlled by a pre-selected group that can decide to allow the reading and submission of transactions to only certain participants. Consortium blockchains are considered “authorized blockchains” and are best suited for enterprise use.
Blockchain, what for?
If the blockchain still seems very obscure to many observers, the fact remains that it has already spread widely in specific sectors. Moreover, it is not prohibited to think that because of its many advantages, it can develop, in the long term, in almost all activities, including non-commercial ones.
Thus, blockchain technology is already present in the entertainment sector, particularly within the video game industry. Play-to-Earn (P2E) games have been on the rise in recent years. These video games contrast with the traditional video game industry, as players can keep and monetize the assets (converted into NFTs) earned in the game.
The use of the blockchain is also increasingly common within artistic activities. In music, for example, a certain number of unique works can thus be “certified” by an NFT. Therefore, some authors who use the blockchain ensure their copyright without any possible dispute. The issuance of an artistic work can also be distributed without intermediaries to potential buyers via the constitution of an NFT.
In the medical sector, too, the blockchain presents interesting opportunities. Thanks to its operation guaranteeing high data security, medical data recording is made immutable, tamper-proof, traceable, and accessible.
In the distribution sector, Carrefour uses it for the traceability of its branded products. Via a Qr code, you follow the steps of the product from the producer to the store.
Finally, the public sector and institutions are increasingly leaning towards blockchain. With good reason: these areas have strong procedures and regulations that require numerous checks and heavy layers of control. The public sector could benefit from using blockchain to benefit, for example, from an official register of state assets and inviolable citizens.
Ultimately, the blockchain could be generalized in all areas requiring a strong need for traceability and security.