TIBCO Software’s Global Chief Technology Officer, helping to shape the development of TIBCO’s emerging technology platforms and products.”>TIBCO Software’s Global Chief Technology Officer, helping to shape the development of TIBCO’s emerging technology platforms and products. Cryptocurrencies have generated plenty of histrionic headlines lately, but an important part of the story rarely gets much explanation in the financial pages.

Underpinning many of these new digital currencies is a very different type of computational infrastructure: blockchain. Blockchain is the technology stack or enabler behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

And regardless of whether cryptocurrencies turn out to be an enormous bubble, the underlying blockchain technology has indisputable and genuine value. In one form or another, blockchain will have an enormous impact on how digital business gets done long into the future.

For the uninitiated — a blockchain allows anonymous participants to digitally exchange value across a completely decentralized network, and to do so securely and with trust. Immutable distributed ledger technology, cryptographic hashes, smart contracts and consensus are key components of a blockchain, as demonstrated by the popular cryptocurrencies of today.

However, the same components have applications across a number of unrelated verticals, including finance (the obvious first choice), health care, government, supply chain, manufacturing, logistics and many others. In many ways, and especially in a private and permissioned (or consortium) context, blockchain may be thought of as a next-generation distributed data-management platform. Read more from forbes.com…

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