The world’s first easy-to-understand explanation of Blockchain.
Most people agree we do not need to know how a television works to enjoy using one. This is true of many existing and emerging technologies. Most of us happily drive cars, use mobile phones and send emails without knowing how they work. With this in mind, here is a tech-free user guide to the Blockchain – the technology infrastructure behind bitcoin, and many other emerging platforms.
What does the Blockchain do?
The Blockchain is software that stores and transfers value or data across the internet.
What can I store and transfer using the Blockchain?
To use the Blockchain, you will need to set up an account or address (a virtual wallet). At this time, the most popular use for the Blockchain is to make micro-payments with virtual currencies. For example, you can buy bitcoin with real money and then spend it on the internet using the Blockchain.
Authorising a payment using the Blockchain is similar to using a credit card to buy something online. Instead of a 16-digit credit card number, you provide the vendor with a unique string of numbers and letters generated for each transaction. With this unique identifier, the Blockchain can verify and authenticate the transaction.
Can I use the Blockchain to transfer real money?
Not yet. Some companies are using the Blockchain to make international financial transfers, but most of these transactions are enabled by bitcoin or other digital currencies. Exchanging real money for bitcoin incurs fees for the sender, but the benefit is speed, security and convenience.
How is transferring value or virtual currency on the Blockchain different from transferring money from my bank account?
Depending on the amount and the destination, when you transfer money from your bank account, your bank will limit the amount you can transfer. Most banks impose daily limits for all transactions. When you use virtual money on the Blockchain, there are no limits.
When you transfer value or currency from your bank account to an account with a different bank or other financial institution, the transfer can take days. When you use the Blockchain, the transfer is immediate. If a transfer from your bank account puts your account into debit, your bank will charge you a fee. The Blockchain will not allow a transfer in excess of your balance and so your virtual wallet will never be in debit.
How is storing value using the Blockchain different from keeping my money in a bank account?
Bank accounts and credit cards are vulnerable to attack from fraudsters and hackers. The Blockchain is a more secure way to store and transfer funds, particularly if you keep a modest value in your virtual wallet. Hacking the Blockchain is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. No one breaks into Fort Knox for just $500. Of course, value stored on the Blockchain will not earn you interest or improve your credit rating; and the Blockchain will not lend you money to buy a house or car. The Blockchain does not replace your bank, but very soon banks will be using the Blockchain too.
How is transferring data using the Blockchain different to attaching a file to an email?
Unlike emails with attachments, the Blockchain enables the immediate transfer of data no matter how big the file. Also, there is less danger of spam or viruses and no need for firewalls or junk folders.
How is storing data using the Blockchain different to storing my files on my computer?
If you lose or break your computer or if it is attacked by a hacker or virus, you could lose that data. The Blockchain resides in the cloud. Like any web-based storage, you just need your username and password to access your data from anywhere anytime.
What else can I use the Blockchain for?
Very soon the Blockchain will be used for online transactions. It will enable smart contracts, crowdfunding and auctions. It will verify the provenance of artworks and diamonds; transfer title to real estate and other assets; and store information about people, products and property. Apps for music distribution, sports betting and a new type of financial auditing are also being tested.
Why is the Blockchain described as “riskless”?
The Blockchain verifies and authenticates both ends of each transaction. It will not release a purchaser’s funds until it has checked that the vendor will deliver as promised.
Is the Blockchain safe?
Standards and regulations are needed so that the technology can be readily used across different organisations, industries and jurisdictions. Blockchains can be private (like an email) or public (like Facebook), so users need to know which type is being operated before joining a new Blockchain.
- IBM, Natixis, and Trafigura introduce first-ever Blockchain solution for U.S. crude oil market - March 28, 2017
- Humaniq Opens Pre-order Wire Payment Fund for ICO - March 27, 2017
- OpenLedger’s Apptrade (www.apptrade.io), the platform creating “Kickstarter for Apps on the Blockchain”, has received a $100,000 USD boost from OpenLedger ApS, the world’s first blockchain powered conglomerate. Powered by the digital token APPX, Apptrade creates portfolios, or groups, of apps, where if one of those apps becomes the next Instagram or Angry Birds, then the value of the portfolio rises. Ronny Boesing, CEO of OpenLedger ApS, explained that Apptrade’s initial token offering (ITO) changed its valuation in the middle of its crowd sale as an immediate response to the result of its preliminary offering. Boesing said, “The Apptrade platform is much too important to not succeed, and it was clear that we needed to adjust the valuation to make it more appealing to anyone deciding to participate. In addition, we wanted to show our belief in this project, and felt that there was no better way to show this than putting our money where our mouth is. OpenLedger will be adding a total of $100 000 USD to the Crowdsale over the next 7 days.” The minimum fundraising goal is $1M USD with a cap of $5M USD. With a total of 8.25M APPX tokens on offer, OpenLedger’s Apptrade ApS will back these tokens with 20% of the future revenue from the Apptrade platform, and any unsold tokens will therefore be distributed proportionally to all participants. All early bird participants, as well new participants, will receive the extra tokens according to the published Stage 1 structure, plus benefit from the additional tokens to be divided. Daniel Pineda, Founder of Apptrade says, “After listening carefully to feedback from public and private supporters, and with great consideration, we decided to update our master token valuation. We firmly believe that our platform, built on the ecosystem of OpenLedger and powerful BitShares financial trading technology, is a strong Blockchain project that will be a success for years to come. We feel that this is the right action to ensure a satisfactory outcome for all.” Apptrade’s final valuation is going to be based on the amount raised, whether $1M USD as its threshold or money back guarantee, or the maximum of $5M USD. The valuation of the Apptrade platform will be determined on what is raised. The deadline according to the escrow agreement is set to end on April 30 2017. Boesing continued, “This approach and change of valuation resulted from requests from within the community, and we hope to accommodate many more participants. But one thing is clear to all of the Early Birds – this is your lucky day!” - March 27, 2017
- Factom Launches Revolutionary Blockchain Suite of Mortgage Products - March 24, 2017
- Qtum Shatters ICO Records Raising $15.6 Million - March 24, 2017
- Blockchain Startup Sphre Announces ICO (Crowdsale) for Digital Identity Platform Called Air - March 22, 2017
- Kestrel sign ups to MTI’s blockchain driven solutions to deliver global growth - March 22, 2017
- The G20 Countries Should Investigate Blockchain Technologies to Build an Inclusive, Transparent, and Accountable Digital Economy for All - March 21, 2017
- Particl, a Distributed Marketplace Rethinking Privacy’s Future – Announced Seed Round - March 21, 2017
- ZrCoin To Do Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to Crowdfunds Commodities Option - March 21, 2017
- Canada’s Scotiabank and AlphaPoint Announce Successful Blockchain Trial - March 21, 2017
- Canada’s SecureKey taps IBM to put identity on the Blockchain - March 21, 2017
- Blockchain Startup Humaniq Launches London Office - March 21, 2017
- QRL Recruits Testers for High Security Quantum-Resistant Blockchain - March 20, 2017
- Blockchain of Things, Inc. Releases Paw Advanced REST Client Integration - March 19, 2017
- ConsenSys Named Official Blockchain City Advisor for the City of Dubai - March 16, 2017
- Bloq Launches BloqLabs to Connect Enterprises with Open Source Blockchain Innovations - March 16, 2017
- Multi-Million Dollar Research Institute Launched to Explore Blockchain Use Cases, Opportunities and Challenges - March 16, 2017
- Chamber of Digital Commerce Forms the Blockchain Intellectual Property Council - March 16, 2017
- Orebits & Symbiont Deploy Blockchain Technology to Digitize Gold Ownership - March 16, 2017
- Blockchain Capital to Raise its Third Fund via a Digital Token Offering in The First Liquidity-enhanced Venture Capital Fund - March 16, 2017
- The Exscudo Channels App Is A New Mobile Wallet And Secure Messenger - March 14, 2017
- Dao.Casino – Decentralising the Gambling Economy - March 14, 2017
- Chain of Points Adds American Internet Entrepreneur Jeff Pulver to Board of Advisors - March 14, 2017
- Nasdaq Releases NYIAX – A Blockchain-Enabled, Cloud-Based Media Trading Platform - March 14, 2017
- Lunyr Announces Crowdsale for the First Decentralized World Knowledge Base on Ethereum - March 14, 2017
- Coinsource, World’s largest bitcoin ATM network, Completes Historic Bulk Installation on US West Coast with 35 ATMs - March 14, 2017
- Bitwala Offers Bitcoin to M-Pesa Services in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania - March 12, 2017
- US SEC Regulators Reject Bitcoin ETF, Price Plunges, Recovers - March 11, 2017
- Google’s DeepMind plans Blockchain Health Record Tracking for Hospitals - March 10, 2017
- Coalition Forms to Address Digital Asset Taxation Uncertainty - March 10, 2017
- Livecoin, the Fourth Largest Altcoin Exchange Is Now Available in Eight Languages - March 9, 2017
- Australia Releases Blockchain Standards Roadmap - March 6, 2017
- Hyperledger Fabric Graduates with Honours – It’s Live! - March 4, 2017
- TaaS, the First Fully Transparent Closed End Fund Dedicated to Blockchain Assets, Adds International Banking and Marketing Experts as Advisors - March 2, 2017
- Kraken Acquires Cryptowatch and Launches New Trading Platform - March 1, 2017
- Switzerland’s Crypto Valley Association Founded To Build World’s Leading Blockchain and Cryptographic Ecosystem - March 1, 2017
- Massive Launch by Blockchain Industry for New Enterprise Ethereum Alliance - March 1, 2017
- Monax Joins Hyperledger Project, Brings Ethereum Technology - February 28, 2017
- Chain of Points Adds Internet Pioneer and iPayYou Founder Gene Kavner to Board of Advisors - February 27, 2017
- Chamber of Digital Commerce and Structured Finance Industry Group Partner to bring Blockchain to Securitization - February 27, 2017
- Blockchain Startup Bloq Acquires Blockchain Analytics Pioneer Skry - February 27, 2017
- Edgeless.io Launches its ICO to become the first fully transparent Casino, Offering 0% Edge - February 27, 2017
- Storj Labs Raises $3 Million in Seed Funding - February 26, 2017
- Northern Trust And IBM Pioneer Use Of Blockchain Technology To Help Transform Private Equity Administration - February 26, 2017
- 0x – An Open Protocol for Decentralized Exchange on the Ethereum Blockchain - February 26, 2017
- Global Blockchain Project FERMAT Announces Significant Alpha Release for the “Internet of People” - February 26, 2017
- Blockchain Startup Peerplays Raises $4m Before ICO Even Kicks Off - February 26, 2017
- Numerai Launches Cryptocurrency and New Hedge Fund Built By Data Scientist Network - February 26, 2017
- Disrupt the VC Industry? Brock Pierce and Blockchain Capital to Launch Own Cryptocurrency and ICO - February 26, 2017