The blockchain technology became known through Bitcoin. But it can do much more than "just" enable the operation of a crypto currency. At its core, the blockchain technology - also called Distributed Consensus Technology - creates digital trust and thus provides more transparency between people.
What exactly does that mean?
The blockchain architecture enables all participants of a decentralized network to verify all processes in the network at any time. The definition of a process can vary, from the transfer of a token to the execution of a complex computer program.
The result: In a network based on a blockchain, all users or members can place their trust in the network. Especially when its members do not trust each other. This is particularly interesting, for example, if several companies, which are actually competitors, want to use a jointly controlled digital infrastructure - for the exchange of values or sensitive data, for example.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain is what the name promises: a chain of blocks.
A block represents a group of successfully tested processes. In the prominent example Bitcoin, for example, a block currently contains between 1,000 and 2,000 transactions.
The special feature of a block chain is that both data checking and data storage are not performed centrally by an instance such as a company or an authority. All network participants are involved.
This redundant storage on all network nodes, combined with the verifiability of the data in the blockchain, ensures a high level of security and reliability and is seen as the next major digital development stage after Internet, Clouds and IoT.
Blockchain facts at a glance:
Blockchains use cryptographic methods and economic incentive models to maximize system security
Blockchains are forgery-proof, since all entries are unchangeable and can be checked by all network participants at any time.
Blockchain networks can replace traditional middlemen in many scenarios by enabling direct peer-to-peer transactions.
Blockchain, Industry 4.0 & Coopetition*
Blockchain technology will be of great relevance for industrial entrepreneurs in the future, if
several parties that do not trust each other want to build a network that offers all participants a benefit that they could not achieve independently of each other (for example: peer-to-peer marketplaces, digital cooperatives)
Data is to be used by various parties, but ownership is to remain with the data producer (for example: sensor data marketplaces, training of specialized KIs).
independently operating machines are to do business directly with each other (for example, machines of several owners working together in a factory or in the field)
Data from and about autonomous machines must be documented in a forgery-proof manner (for example: documentation of repairs and work steps);
in traditional finance, costly transactions should be carried out much more cheaply (for example: guarantees for foreign transactions).
* Coopetition - also known as cooperation competition - describes the duality of competition and cooperation in markets.