Dr Garrick Hileman explains the basic concept of a blockchain, outlining some of the technology’s current uses as well as suggesting a number of potential future applications that could revolutionize the global economy.
Dr Garrick Hileman, Researcher, University of Cambridge and London School of Economics; CEO and Head of Research, Mosaic.io
Although the mechanics of blockchain are extremely complex, the basic idea is simple: to decentralize the storage of data so that such data cannot be owned, controlled or manipulated by a central actor.
The recent surge in and subsequent collapse of the value of Bitcoin has brought renewed attention to the blockchain architecture that underpins cryptocurrencies.
However, blockchain’s uses go far beyond virtual money. The technology could change the way that ownership, privacy, uncertainty and collaboration are conceived of in the digital world, disrupting sectors and practices as diverse as financial markets, content distribution, supply chain management, the dispersal of humanitarian aid and even voting in a general election.