Although once considered a buzzword tied to the rapid rise of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology is now expanding into a wide range of fields and sectors.
Dubbed an “a peer-to-peer electronic cash system”, Bitcoin is a digital currency that came roaring to life all the way back in January 2009. The concept was originally set out in a whitepaper by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity still remains a mystery even today.
Known as the godfather of all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin relied on blockchain technology to break free of the traditional limitations of how online trading once worked. In the world of crypto, transactions are stored and recorded in a publicly distributed ledger known as a blockchain.
As all of the computers running the blockchain have the same list of blocks and transactions, and in turn can transparently see these new blocks being filled with new bitcoin transactions, it’s simply not possible for anyone to ever cheat the system. In turn, this all important feature has seen blockchain technology be embraced in all sorts of surprising sectors.
In simple terms, a blockchain collects information and data in groups, which are otherwise known as blocks. As new data comes in, it is entered into a fresh block. Once the block is filled with data, it is chained onto the previous block, which makes the data chained together in chronological order.
While many different types of information can be stored on a blockchain, the most common use so far has been as a ledger for transactions. It’s for this reason that the very phrase is most commonly linked to cryptocurrencies – but that’s starting to change.
Blockchain is used in a decentralised manner, which means that no single person or group has control. Instead, all users collectively retain control, making them a very popular alternative to traditional bricks and mortar banks. In addition, decentralised blockchains are immutable, or that the data and information entered is irreversible.
Needless to say, the future of blockchain technology is looking very bright. Contracts, transactions, and the records of them are among the defining structures in our economic, legal, and political systems – so imagine the possibilities if there was no way to tamper with them.
While blockchain technology is already disrupting how the world uses financial institutes, this is usually considered relevant for individuals. In reality, a growing number of businesses are relying on blockchains for database management for their day to day operations, such as global giants like Walmart and AIG.
In addition, sensitive information found in legal and real estate contracts are also starting to move towards blockchain storage. Although this may take a while to kick off in Australia, it is a practice already on the rise in the United States and parts of Europe. Given the heightened risk of a cyber attack in these nations thanks to the ongoing war in Ukraine, it should come as no surprise that online security is a topic that weighs heavily on the minds of many in these parts of the world.
On a lighter note, it’s worth observing that the online gaming industry has already embraced blockchain technology, especially with the arrival of NFTs. A non-fungible token is a financial security consisting of digital data stored in a blockchain, a form of distributed ledger. The ownership of an NFT is recorded in the blockchain, and can be transferred by the owner, allowing NFTs to be sold and traded. As a popular way to buy and sell digital art, they’ve also boomed in popularity as a tool to store online gaming avatars, weaponry and much more.
According to industry experts, the online gaming world is well overdue for a global shake up – and blockchain could be just the catalyst the sector needs. Blockchain technology is well on it’s way to restructure the industry, turn the tables on the monopolistic console market, create a multiverse, and make games more immersive and boundary-blurring than ever. In the online gaming industry, blockchain could become the norm for player experience, the transactions of digital items, and the back-end infrastructure of games themselves.
Regardless of why the perks of blockchain technology may apply to you, buying, selling and storing items in a blockchain requires careful thought. Often done so via the help of apps, it’s important to ensure that your smartphone software is up to date, and can handle the increased data usage.
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