By NATHANIEL POPPERAPRIL 1, 2018 From Bitcoin to Litecoin to Ethereum, we explain how cryptocurrency transactions work. The technology industry has an answer called the blockchain — even for the problems the industry helped to create.

The first blockchain was created in 2009 as a new kind of database for the virtual currency Bitcoin, where all transactions could be stored without any banks or governments involved. Now, countless entrepreneurs, companies and governments are looking to use similar databases — often independent of Bitcoin — to solve some of the most intractable issues facing society.

“People feel the need to move away from something like Facebook and toward something that allows them to have ownership of their own data,” said Ryan Shea, a co-founder of Blockstack, a New York company working with blockchain technology. The man who created the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has said the blockchain could help reduce the influence of the big internet companies and return the web to his original vision.

But he has also warned that it could come with some of the same problems as the web. Blockchain allows information to be stored and exchanged by a network of computers without any central authority.

In theory, this egalitarian arrangement also makes it harder for data to be altered or hacked. Investors, for one, see potential. Read more from nytimes.com…

thumbnail courtesy of nytimes.com