The Internet became publicly available in 1993. Since then, it has grown to become a part of our lives. Between 2008 and 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to the basics of Blockchain. Although initially, as with all new concepts and technologies, blockchain and cryptocurrencies remained elusive to many, they are today gaining acceptance and getting applied widely. Just like the Internet, blockchains and cryptocurrencies shall soon become an integral part of our daily lives!
We now have platforms for creating public, private, or hybrid blockchains. Many programmers are also developing their own blockchain applications using standard programming languages. Use cases for blockchain are also growing rapidly, particularly in areas that are prone to fraud and where intermediaries or middlemen need to be done away with. Consequently, blockchain technologies are being applied in the banking industry, Stock Exchange, Land registries, Social Media, Health Services, Contracting, and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.
Key attributes that are making blockchains gain rapid adoptions are the fact that they keep records that are permanent (since modifying a record in a block within a given node leads to the invalidation of the block by the other nodes in the Blockchain), the need for consensus by all nodes when a new block (a set of records, determined by the predefined size of a block within a given blockchain) is being created, which creates trust within the blockchain and the fact that it is possible to trace the history of a given asset whose records are maintained in the blockchain. Although achieving these characteristics requires the decentralization of the data repository (the chain of blocks in which records are stored), which in turn slows down the turnaround time to complete a transaction, the trust element currently outweighs the trade-off of transaction speed. As the technologies used in blockchain continue to evolve, the consensus-building turnaround time should reduce to speeds that might make cryptocurrencies be used at points of sale with ease.
In spite of the little grey shade still lingering on the blockchain technology, it is poised to be the next dominant technology on the Internet that shall drive e-commerce, e-business, content generation and payment for the same, identity security on the Internet, et al. Notably, blockchain is bound to eat into the services rendered at virtually all brick-and-mortar establishments. The safe side to be on for any such establishments is to begin adopting the technology and gain a share of the market that shall be lost by the brick-and-mortar establishments to the blockchain’s digital alternative.