In this fast-paced world of modern technology where rapid changes in human civilization has reached its unprecedented heights, every activity tied to human life from biological, social, and economic functions have found itself interlocked in technological advances and innovation. A best example is social media, a revolutionary gamechanger than has paved the way for faster and seamless communication. Not only is it limited in communication, social media has also become a platform for business and marketing, in turn giving birth to ecommerce.

The room for improvement and innovation in this digital age is endless. Where people are now seeing convenience and efficiency in transactions made online from purchasing to selling, to keeping students progress while taking online courses public with smart contracts, businesses all over the world are aiming to transform the the way they do business by integrating technological platforms to their systems. Hence the rise of cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin and the system that supports it called Blockchain.

Digitizing assets and information and putting it in the internet has always run the risk of jeopardizing security and transparency. With the wave of data breaches from internet titans such as Yahoo and Facebook’s recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, measures have been made by different parties from the European Union to alleviate cyberattacks, impose transparency, and sanction those who fail to disclose data breaches through the General Data Protection Rule (GDPR). The GDPR does not exclusively apply to social media sites alone, but also to retail, financial, educational, and ad-tech firms. This law will enable a more consumer-centered environment where users are aware of how and what kind of data are being collected, and to have the prerogative to remove any data under the ‘right to forgotten’ laws. Firms are also required to report any data breaches within 72 hours after suspected attack.  

Blockchain technology is one of the safest and secure platforms in the internet today, especially in business transactions. It enables a convenient way of transacting business and eliminates the need of a middleman during transactions. Let’s say you were to purchase a pair of jeans via your credit card. Third-party processes include verification and validation from your bank and the vendor’s bank. While blockchain still involves verification and validation, it will be done in a decentralized network of computers called nodes. There is also a record of every transaction made through bitcoin which is kept and updated on a peer-to-peer network of computers. Moreover, the information can also be viewed by everyone in the network. These series of transactions are tied to their previous transactions, making information difficult to alter.

Phillip Curtiss, an assistant professor of computer science at Montana Tech, explains in an article by the Montana Standard that there are ‘three general principles in blockchain- the concept of an open ledger, distribution of tasks and information across the network, and mining.’ Mining involves verification and validation. Verification is a computational process that requires a so-called ‘key,’ a combination of information from buyer and seller and component of the transactions reflected in the public ledger. Once that unvalidated transaction is created between buyer and seller, mining nodes in the peer-to-peer network try to locate or ‘mine’ the appropriate key that fits the transaction. Once the key is found, the transaction is deemed valid and is linked to other validated transactions in the ledger by the mining nodes. In turn, nodes which have been successful in locating the appropriate key gets rewarded with cryptocurrency. Mining keys is a long and complicated process that involves a lot of ‘really complicated cryptographic computation,’ making it a secure and transparent method of doing business.

Another safety feature of the blockchain system is the way every transaction affects the rest of the chain, as referenced by its own name. Should an unauthorized user alter a piece of information in a recorded transaction individually, it would take an extended period of time just to hack a single data with its random and complicated combination of characters. When a breach occurs, it is only limited to a single block. In order for a breach to be widespread, the unauthorized user would need to alter the rest of the blocks. This innovative technology is a gamechanger for consumers and businesses alike, creating a faster, more transparent and secure way of earning customer confidence which is less time-consuming and avoids the hassles of red tape. Converting to local currencies shouldn’t also be an issue with its decentralized approach and no governing body to dictate and restrict its value.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain are relatively new to the market, and educating the parties involved of how it works can be a challenge with its complex features, but that’s what makes it a perfect tool for secure and efficient online transactions. With more and more users growing concerned with their personal data shared online and with governments stepping in to protect users against cyberattacks and fraud, blockchain might just be the solution we need to integrate in our lives. Blockchain is just the beginning. Read more essays online and get up to date news from trusted sources.