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What’s Blockchain?

Blockchain… what is it? No, it’s not a tool to lock your bicycle from – it’s a tool to keep financial transactions from being unrightfully amended. A technology that enshrines data integrity by ordaining the individual and the institution with the equal ability to verify financial transactions by publicly distributing ledgers instead of copying them from a singular source.

The technology, in essence, is a socially interactive one that must be implemented on a shared network. Think of a shared network as having numerous nodes around none of which is centralised. When a blockchain transaction occurs, this transaction is instantaneously recorded amongst all the network’s nodes that eliminates the possibility of collaboration between them.

 

Why Blockchain?

Blockchain is the modern manifestation of the ancient paranoia citizens within societies have always felt towards their governments and institutions: mistrust. Out of this mistrust spawned the idea of engineering a financial system with transparent transactions and legitimate ledgers that ill-willed bureaucrats would be unable to tamper or manipulate. Moreover, such a system had to be decentralised in structure so that the role of gatekeeper in establishing the validity of historical transactions was not a singular responsibility but a universal one. The proliferation of personal technological devices able to sync and communicate with one another took this seemingly impossible theoretical idea and transformed it into what we see occurring with blockchain today.

 

Will Blockchain Catch On?

At last, the possibility of a decentralised and distributed ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network is possible. Surely opposition to the implementation of blockchain as a vehicle for driving transparency in the financial system would be negligible… sarcasm is a useful tool when purposefully highlighting a point: opposition to blockchain is widespread.

Governments and institutions prefer to hang their laundry behind closed doors instead of on the front lawn – laundry representing financial ledgers. This claim is made not with an anarchical tone but a realistic one based on desire to preserve status-quo. The repercussions of implementing blockchain would, quite literally, force governments and institutions to adapt or die. Adapting at the institutional level basically means allocating huge amounts of resources along with rendering certain departments within the organisation redundant. Like any rational person at the head of one of these bodies, he or she would do all in their power to stem the tide of change that is blockchain as it effectively replaces centralised title systems with the integrity of a decentralised one.

 

Blockchain Will Catch On

Upheaving convention has been trending up in everything from politics to policy to communication to consumer consumption – so the eventual integration of blockchain technology into the international financial system should be no stretch of the imagination to even the most ardent sceptics.

A study by the World Economic Forum suggests that 10% of the world’s GDP will be associated with blockchain by 2025, hinting (or bluntly stating) attempts to stifle the technology will fail. An awakening among the financial behemoths to blockchain’s inertia seems to be taking place with the likes of JP Morgan and sovereign central banks exploring how the technology could speed up payment processing and cut transaction costs. If the longevity of economic incentive exceeds fugacious strain, financial institutions will be all but slow to familiarise themselves with their new love-interest blockchain.

Like any technology, blockchain will develop, improve and emerge phenomenally different than what it is today. Concurrently, cryptocurrencies that champion its ubiquity may succumb to the certain multi-faceted adversities of tomorrow, and, fail. However, the resilience of blockchain’s notion of decentralisation will stand the test of time and thrive.


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About Author

Kurt Morgan Luedtke

Kurt Luedtke graduated from the University of Southern California in May 2014 with a B.S. in Business Administration and immediately relocated to Hong Kong and began working for the commodity trading firm Noble Group. He remained in Asia with Noble until May 2017 and then began a transition into real estate as a current graduate student in the University of San Diego’s Masters in Real Estate program.  Kurt is fascinated with real estate development, acquisition, value add and asset management in emerging economies and endeavors to continue his career on the international stage after graduation in May 2018.

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