Blockchain is best known for its ability to support cryptocurrencies and dapps, but the number of blockchain applications continues to increase as the technology becomes more advanced. At the same time, the user base is also evolving. Governments are beginning to not only test out the capabilities of blockchain technology but also use this technology for improving governance in the real world.
This chain of blocks represents a true technological revolution as big as the emergence of the Internet, but really, what is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a technology or information coding system, which is behind the bitcoin virtual currency. It would be like the accounting book of a company where all the entries and exits of money are registered; in this case, we are talking about a book of digital events, in the style of a P2P protocol.
It can be defined as a database and its literal translation is chain of blocks. However, and beyond the foundation to the cryptocurrencies for what was created, it is a platform that allows hundreds of utilities in the future.
Like the Internet, they are technologies that in themselves do not change things very much; however, it is the sum of small advances that add value, those that build a useful and productive application. As it is the case of the Internet today, thanks to the convergence of several technologies, it allows from calling a video conference, to sending emails or using a browser and social networks.
Blockchain is an encrypted system, with highly sophisticated encryption, highly secure, in which transparency and clarity is guaranteed. Transactions are irreversible, avoiding fraud and it is impossible to fail, by responding to thousands of nodes and although in theory the network fell, with only one of those computers or nodes did not, the information would never be lost.
Therefore, it is a revolution with a level of change like the Internet was because the processes are of the users, not of institutions, there are no owners or human control of the transaction eliminating intermediaries.
The blockchain is one of the most significant, fundamental advances in digital platforms since the internet and also probably the most overhyped technology in current times, according to Kevin Werbach, Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics, at the inaugural annual Penn Wharton Budget Model Spring Policy Forum, held recently in Washington.
“In many ways, the parallels are striking,” said Werbach, who worked at the Federal Communications Commission in the late 1990s during the dot-com boom. “This is a new infrastructure baseline technology that can lead to lots of benefits — also, it has lots of problems. Blockchain is now the source of a great deal of fraud, of illegal activity and regulatory arbitrage, but it is also sparking innovation across the world in all sorts of areas.”
While most people use the terms Bitcoin and blockchain interchangeably, they are very different things. “At bottom, blockchain is not about money, even though this is the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — and it’s not fundamentally about destroying governments and replacing them with purely private, decentralized systems, even though it is a system that creates a new kind of decentralized infrastructure. “Fundamentally, blockchain is about something deeper than all of that. It’s about trust.”
Public sector blockchain applications are already having a positive impact around the world. Governments at various levels (local, provincial, national) are realizing the benefits of this technology. Still, many of these applications remain in the test phase or as of mid-2019. With increased interest and investments in blockchain; however, the significance of blockchain in the public sector will only increase in the coming years.