Blockchain has become a very well-known buzz word in the business world but quite often there is not an accompanying explanation of what it is. People are scrambling to include blockchain in their business operations without fully understanding what it is or how it may benefit the business. This article is here to explain what blockchain is in a digestible manner and why it may be useful to include blockchain in your business.
In short, a blockchain is a way to record data that is extremely hard to change later. This has benefits as it can make a system based on blockchain appear like an online ledger, providing everyone who participates with an identical copy of it. All participants check through this ledger to make sure any additions made are legitimate. Each page in this ledger has a code included that is a reference to the previous page so if anyone tries to add an illegitimate page it is obvious to all other participants as this code would not align anymore.
As may be made obvious before, a blockchain is designed to be as transparent as possible. This does mean that blockchain is not applicable to every single business as there are certainly many bits of data that should not be out in the open. However, blockchain can be run privately with only approved users (allowing business collaborates to also use the private blockchain). A blockchain is an effective way to increase confidence that all other partners are acting in good faith with the data. Blockchain is also currently seeing a large amount of investment and so including blockchain within a business plan may be attractive to potential investors.
However, many business users would not benefit from including blockchain due to its open nature and instead would be best served by opting for a more traditional data storage method such as a database. For data that is never meant to be public, a database would be more cost and energy efficient.
If you enjoyed this briefing paper, check out our other digital resources which cover a wide range of topics, including quantum computing, social media, and 3D printing.
The Lancashire Cyber Foundry runs a series of business strategy and cyber workshops specifically designed for SMEs in Lancashire. We’re passionate about seeing Lancashire business become more cyber-aware and innovative and so offer funded places for companies to come and learn how to defend, innovate and grow their business. Additionally, we have an experienced technical team ready to help you with your business innovation ideas, particularly around cyber and digital innovation.
To find out more about how your business can access support or register on one of upcoming workshops, contact us:
Thomas Keany is a student intern with Lancashire Cyber Foundry. He is due to graduate this year from Lancaster University with a degree in mathematics before going on to study for a master’s in computational biology. Thomas has always found the software development side of things interesting, but particularly enjoys finding practical usages for newer ideas and technology.
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