What is The Blockchain Anyway? 3 214

Everyone’s familiar with cryptocurrency by now. Bitcoin and Ethereum are starting to become part of our everyday vocabulary. And so is the word “blockchain.” Everyone’s heard of it, but exactly what is the blockchain anyway and how will it impact our lives?

The blockchain is a revolutionary technology that’s being described by many as “the new internet.” Its implications have repercussions on many (if not, all) industries and areas, thanks to several of its unique qualities.

Think of The Blockchain As a Spreadsheet

Rather like turning on a lightswitch or zapping through your television, you don’t necessarily need to know how the blockchain works to understand it. But, perhaps one of the easiest ways is by thinking of it as a spreadsheet. Let’s see:

It started with Microsoft Excel.

You created a new spreadsheet and then emailed it to your colleague, who then emailed it to the next collaborator. They would edit, update and send it back. Great.

Except that you could end up with countless versions of the same document and never know which one was the latest. Lots of emails, lots of confusion, plenty of room for improvement.

Enter Google Docs.

Google Docs allows many people to work on the same spreadsheet at the same time. This does away with the email chains and the countless updated versions. But what it doesn’t do is allow for widespread, simultaneous distribution.

That’s where the blockchain comes in.

Everyone can have access to the spreadsheet at once, whenever they want to; providing the ultimate in transparency and a few more things besides.

The Blockchain is Incorruptible

Co-Author of the Blockchain Revolution, Don Tapscott, describes the blockchain as “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions, but virtually everything of value.” While the blockchain is first and foremost associated with cryptocurrency, its real power lies in its technology. All of the blockchain’s records are immutable because they are shared over all participating parties’ computers.

Consider the implications of this for one moment. If the blockchain was used to record events and transactions in the supply chain, corruption would be impossible. If the blockchain were applied to elections, forging votes would be a think of the past.

The Blockchain is Decentralized

We hear the word “decentralized” associated with the blockchain a lot. But what exactly are the implications of that? The fact that no data is located in any single location, or owned by any single person is another reason that its records are tamper-proof. If any changes are made at any point in the ledger, they happen across the entire network in real time, just like crypto transactions.

According to Block Geeks, “Decentralization means the network operates on a user-to-user (or peer-to-peer) basis. The forms of mass collaboration this makes possible are just beginning to be investigated.” The blockchain, then, could have a huge impact on many areas, from the sharing economy to identity management.

How is The Blockchain Currently Being Used?

The blockchain is currently being used in many industries and will start to leave its stamp on more and more. Take legal documents, for example. If these could all be managed with blockchain, we would no longer need hard copy passports, birth certificates, or anything else; everything could be digitized.

When it comes to banking, the decentralized nature of the blockchain would mean that your money would never be in one account only. Your finances would be safe should one institution go bankrupt, because the records would be distributed over many participating parties.

Sooner or later, most businesses will rely on the blockchain to make their transactions more efficient and secure. There will no no further concerns about data breaches or loss of information, and every record will be public. Blockchain technology is set to be as disruptive to businesses around the world as the internet, allowing us to achieve speed, efficiency and transparency. Are you ready?

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Christina is a technology and business communicator who has worked with high profile ICOs and blockchain influencers to break industry news.


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Pareto Network to Donate Portion of Proceeds to Clean Water Initiatives in Africa 4 279

The Pareto Network, the financial intel network for traders and investors, announced today that a portion of proceeds from their upcoming PARETO Score sales will be going to various initiatives to equip underserved African communities with clean water.

“We’re excited to announce this project,” says Pareto Network CEO and co-founder Eric Lamison-White. “Providing basic essentials like water to communities in need has been a focus of our team, and we’re glad to have an opportunity to do our part.”

According to Lamison-White, the details of the upcoming Score sales and clean water initiatives will follow in the coming weeks. For more information about the Pareto Network and PARETO Score sales, visit www.pareto.network.

About the Pareto Network

The Pareto Network is a peer-to-peer content marketplace enabling users to submit real-time actionable intelligence to traders and investors. Users are then rewarded via Pareto Tokens based on the value of the content to the network. Founded by Eric Lamison-White and Ted Lanpher, the platform was created to address rampant misinformation in the blockchain community, in order to provide well-vetted and unbiased intel to the cryptocurrency community.

Kenya Looks to Blockchain for Affordable Housing Project 8 307

The “Silicon Savannah” is moving deeper in direction of tech. The Kenyan government has announced a plan to manage the property allocation and funding of 500,000 affordable housing units with blockchain technology.

The units, which the government aims to build by 2022, will be set aside for households with an annual income below 100,000 Kenyan Shillings, about $990 USD. The World Bank estimates Kenya’s gross national income per capita at $1,290, according to Business Daily.

Blockchain will help ensure that the affordable housing is in fact going to those who fall below the average income bracket. Land title fraud has caused problems for Kenyans, as land grabbers target homes and even schools for illegal sales and development. Blockchain’s ability to store verifiable proof of title could help safeguard against fraudsters.

“Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government funded housing projects,” said Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga, speaking with the World Bank on Monday.

Hinga said the plan will be financed by the National Housing Fund, which will raise over $59.5 million per month to get the project underway. But Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia said it will take $31.7 billion to build a million homes, each of which will cost between $3,000 and $30,000. Macharia called for support from private sector financing.

Under the financing plan, working Kenyans will contribute 1.5 percent of their salary, which will be matched by their employers. “On affordable housing one should not spend more than 30% of their disposable income for housing,” Hinga tweeted yesterday. “Anything above 30% is not affordable.”

A Trustless Relationship Between People and Government

The initiative represents a considerable push to solve housing and title problems for the nation’s lower income families. But how will the government decide to whom the housing units will go? With so much talk about financing underway, people are already calling on the government to outline a plan for how they’ll distribute the affordable housing units.

The government will need to deliver the housing projects in a time when, Hinga acknowledges, the public is skeptical. Earlier this year $78 million went missing in a corruption scandal involving the National Youth Services. Where there is little trust between the people and their government, Kenya hopes to establish transparency through the blockchain’s distributed ledger system.

Kenya’s Move Toward Tech

In March, Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology appointed a blockchain taskforce to explore the ways the nation could use blockchain technology in the public and private sectors. They called it the Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence taskforce, and by September its chairman, Bitange Ndemo, was calling on the government to tokenize the economy.

Ndemo also proposed government implementation of blockchain to certify the authenticity of retail goods, so consumers can be sure of where their food is coming from, for example.

Governor of Kenya’s central bank Patrick Njoroge has also voiced support for the use of blockchain technology to strengthen service delivery, although he’s opposed the use of tokens and digital currencies.

But the affordable housing initiative could be the Kenyan government’s first real world implementation of the blockchain.

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