A blockchain is an online database that stores information across a network of personal computers, making it not just decentralized but distributed. This means no central company or person owns the database, yet everyone in the network can use and help run it, but not tamper with it.
The most popular use of blockchain technology today is bitcoin. The bitcoin blockchain manages around 200,000 bitcoin transactions a day, moving the equivalent of US$150 million around the world without the need of banks or other financial intermediaries.
Bitcoin is just the beginning for blockchains. In the future, blockchains that manage and verify online data will launch companies entirely run by algorithms, make self-driving cars safer, help us protect our online identities, and track the billions of devices on the Internet of Things.
The Blockchain Futures Lab at Institute for the Future has an excerpt from Bitcoin for the Befuddled, (2014, No Starch Press), in which authors Conrad Barski and Chris Wilmer imagine a whimsical but entirely possible snapshot of a chock-a-blockchain world 15 years in the future.
Let’s follow Crowley the Crocodile as he goes about his day in the year 2030, from the moment his bitcoin-powered bioalarm clock wakes him, until he eats his late night pizza ordered using a rating service that runs without human owners.
A Typical Day in a Blockchain-Enabled World Circa 2030
David Gerard is a technically minded, sharp-witted, scathing critic of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies; his criticism is long, comprehensive and multipartite, but of particular interest is is critique of "proof of work" (an idea that is central to the blockchain, but which many cryptographers are skeptical of).
By design, data placed in the blockchain is visible to everyone in the world and can never be removed; everyone who mines bitcoin makes a copy of the blockchain, and so any illegal content stashed in the blockchain ends up on the computers of every miner.
Cynthia Lee, inspired by a tongue-in-cheek request by Christopher Mims, created a Chrome browser extension that replaces the word “blockchain” with the phrase “mulitple copies of a giant Excel spreadsheet.” WHAT: This is a Chrome browser extension that can help readers contextualize news stories with hype about blockchain technology, by reminding you that blockchain is, […]
Summer’s here, which brings not only warmer weather but also the unsettling realization that the year is more than halfway over. So, for those who weren’t as productive as they would have liked during the first half of 2018, we’ve rounded up 5 skill course bundles you can start learning today to help you finish […]
It’s good to be proactive, but when it comes to preparing for an emergency situation, one of the most important items you can pack is a flashlight. After all, whatever else you include in your kit won’t be of much use if you can’t see what you’re doing. The Viper 1000-Lumen Tactical Flashlights not only […]
Chances are you took a handful of language classes in high school, and aside from a smattering of conjugations and vocabulary words, the only things you likely remember are the dry, rehearsed sentences that did little to make you speak like a true native. If you’re still hoping to learn a new language but want […]