Blockchain is essentially a ledger technology that uses cryptography to provide an authoritative record of secure transactions. By doing away with a trusted centralized middle man responsible for the ledger, blockchain allows for a “trustless trust.” The three primary transformative features are immutability, transparency, and autonomy.

The transactions, once verified and accepted, are cemented into blocks and then appended to the chain. The synchronized replication across all distributed nodes and the use of cryptographic hashing is what provides the transparency — the immutable record — of transactions, with the data viewable to all the participants.

Blockchain has truly evolved from its Bitcoin origin a decade ago and has moved beyond cryptocurrency just for digital payments. Now, business logic can be programmed through smart contracts and contractual agreements that can be automatically executed between peer-to-peer or machine to machine (M2M).

This provides a new level of autonomy. Smart contracts can be programmed to do many things: release funds, communicate information, and record and embed data, all in a preprogrammed, self-executing, and autonomous manner.

Furthermore, digital identities can be created for physical properties and intangible assets with the ownership of those controlled through smart contracts. Moving beyond smart contracts is the idea of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Read more from…

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