If you aren’t living under a rock, then there’s a good chance you have heard about Bitcoin. With the rising demand for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum and Ripple, one must wonder what the technology behind it is. The technology that enables the existence of these cryptocurrencies is called ‘Blockchain Technology’. Introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in the year 2008 for the use of Bitcoin, blockchain has become an emerging technology in recent times. Ever since its introduction, it has attracted people’s attention as it offers more benefits when compared to centralized and inaccessible technologies.
Blockchain is a decentralized system or a type of database where information is collected and recorded in a way that makes it difficult to tamper with any of the data stored. This data is duplicated and later distributed, so all the network participants will have a copy of the ledger for complete transparency. Blockchain is phenomenally secure, transformative and immutable, as all the databases and records are individually encrypted and become irreversible after validation of the records.
In fact, blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum are constantly growing and evolving as new blocks are added to the chain, increasing the security of the ledger drastically. This makes it difficult for third parties or hackers to plan attacks on the system, making it no surprise that blockchain is used as a digitally secure manner of transactions outside the scope of tampering. Additionally, it helps with keeping track of the history of transactions such that they cannot be corrupted.
Blockchain technology has a wide range of applications outside just cryptocurrencies. For example, we know that Governments are entrusted with the maintenance of information such as census data, birth/death records, criminal activities, business data, etc. Blockchain can help with storing these public related data in an incredibly secure manner and solve the problem of maintaining these records. Blockchain also has many emerging applications like electronic voting, supply chains, and other modalities. As a matter of fact, the execution of smart contracts has solved many discrepancies and disputes as it ensures that the payments are released automatically once the contract terms have been fulfilled.
According to experts, blockchain technology will be a game-changer in a variety of businesses. It’s starting to form the backbone of a new means of carrying out operations over the internet. Indeed, standard public-private key cryptography ensures the validity and integrity of transactions and as a result, many sectors are on the verge of being transformed by blockchain technology. One example is that of Gem, a startup company that is working with the Centre for Disease Control to give input on data related to the outbreak of any kinds of diseases. It uses blockchain technology to procedurally update them to increase the potency of disaster relief and response.
Blockchain has resulted in many environmental impacts in both ways. Though it is being widely used, there are still doubts amongst people regarding the adoption of cryptocurrency. Many have also raised concerns about the consumption of energy when mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as it can increase our carbon footprints, which further leads to an increase in the annual emission of carbon and climate change. According to reports, it is also said that the Bitcoin Network releases about 9-12 kilotons in electronic waste every year.
Therefore, we must take initiative to overcome these obstacles, especially considering how blockchain can improve the world for the better in the coming years. In present circumstances, though the shift from centralization to decentralization makes blockchain extremely valuable, it is also important that we consider its environmental impact and make amendments accordingly.