Aaron van Wirdum: Blockchain Set to Go Mainstream – Anchoring Could Very Well Be the Future of Bitcoin as a 2.0 Technology

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Dutch Bitcoin Journalist  Aaron van Wirdum from Bitcoin Magazine has written an excellent piece on Blockchain technology entering the Zeitgeist. Most interesting van Wirdum makes a strong case on anchoring (Merkle Trees) with some solid interviews and research – noting that anchoring could very well be the future of Bitcoin as a 2.0 technology. 

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However he also points out that Bitcoin itself might never be the platform that’s used to record every single stock trade, or all the world’s data… But it could evolve to be a fundamental and secure base layer, on which more advanced solutions are constructed.

Bitcoin is being rediscovered as a building block, much like the IP layer of the internet itself.

This unique security proposition has opened the door to a new application of the original Bitcoin blockchain: anchoring. Rather than transmitting and processing all information, some of the newer blockchains and alternative data-layers do most of the work on their own chain or ledger, and simply tap into Bitcoin’s security without putting a big footprint into the system.

This is done using cryptographic tools called Merkle trees. Data – any type of data – can be scrambled and compressed into a hash: a seemingly random string of numbers. This hash can be much shorter than the original data, but is also impossible to unscramble, deeming it useless to anyone who doesn’t have the original data. But anyone who does have the original data can scramble that data in the exact same manner. If the hash turns out the same, it essentially verifies that the original hash was made using the same data.

A Merkle tree, then, consists of multiple hashes hashed together into a new hash, called a Merkle root. As such, hundreds of pieces of data can all be compressed into a Merkle root. And using the magic of cryptography, anyone who has any of the original data can use the Merkle root to check whether that original data is part of the Merkle tree.

Major companies such as Philips are experimenting with Bitcoin’s blockchain using Merkle trees. The electronics and health care giant recently established a partnership with Tierion, a blockchain startup that lets users create a verifiable record of any data, file, or business process on the Bitcoin blockchain.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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