Blockchain

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Applied Innovation

Possible uses of Blockchains are part of a digital innovation process that is increasingly relevant in various sectors and types of applications

Blockchain: what it is and what it consists of

A Blockchain is a computer network with a structure similar to a chain of blocks, which contains all the necessary information relating to a specific asset, product or IT system.

Before being permanently transferred into the blocks, the data is validated using a consensus system distributed over throughout the nodes in the network that are authorized to take part in the aforementioned process.

In short, a Blockchain can be defined as a sort of Internet within the Internet, a computer network that should be considered separately, which facilitates the process of recording transactions or tracking assets.

It is often seen as an open “Ledger”, which can be viewed by everyone and shared.

The main features of a Blockchain are: immutability, maximum transparency on transactions and other types of operations, guaranteed traceability of the latter and, lastly, a high level of security.

Below is an explanation on how a Blockchain works and what it is for. You will also find a number of examples and ideas relating to different types of use.

What does Blockchain mean?
Meaning and explanation

The term Blockchain literally means “Chain of Blocks”. It is a technology that uses a computer network of nodes and a ledger containing all data and information, which travels in the Blockchain network.
Data distribution does not require checks or verifications by a “central” entity. However, please note that once distributed, the information will be viewable, shareable and traceable, but at the at the same time they will also become immutable.
Data and information are managed in open, shared manner, and anyone can to check and verify certain info (which is contained in one of the many blocks in the IT network).
A Blockchain can be used for the creation of cryptocurrencies, for the management of leasings and sales, in schools for ensure the correct distribution of certificates, degrees and diplomas (and the immediately identification of any “false” ones) and to keep track of electoral votes (while improving the counting of votes) and in numerous other ways.

What is a Blockchain for?

Bitcoin and
Cryptocurrencies

The first example of the correct, useful use of a Blockchain obviously regards the development of cryptocurrencies (digital coins, tokens). The most famous of all, the most traded, as well as the “oldest” crypto is undoubtedly Bitcoin.

In this case, a Blockchain was used to develop a digital currency free from third parties (e.g. an account at a bank is not required, transactions will not have to be approved by the credit institution first, etc.), without transaction fees, traceable and with a guaranteed high level of security.

In particular, every single token can be track, its history is therefore available to everyone by simply accessing the ledger and searching for the corresponding transaction in order to view the related info. It is therefore possible to track all the owners of a given token.

Furthermore, transactions and exchanges are completely anonymous. Another factor that has strongly contributed to the rise of Bitcoin in the world of finance.

Food industry
Production
Chains

Leaving aside Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains are also very useful for the development of particular tracking networks.

Above all, the system is useful for tracing the products of the various production chains.

The technology can prove useful in the agri-food sector.

Indeed, a given product entered into the network (and validated by the blocks) will remain there forever, unchanged and available to anyone.

This means that any buyer can easily track the origin of a product, where it was made, who the previous owners were or, in any event, what all the steps of a product were before reaching us.

This system can be applied to all types of food products, from fresh to frozen or even vacuum-packed ones.

Banking
Sector

As far as the banking sector is concerned, although cryptocurrencies preoccupy (quite seriously!) financial institutions, they consider Blockchains to be an essential element for the future of digital banking.

The technological network can be extremely useful for the management of payments and for the simplification of transactions in different currencies.

They can also prove very helpful for the creation of a Finance Supply Chain and develop the related tracking of services and/or assets that will always be the responsibility of the Bank/Credit Institution.

Lastly, there is also the opportunity to improve the management of customer identity data and related information, data that will remain immutable forever if entered and validated in a specific Blockchain.

This will make it possible to simplify and reduce the costs associated with the banking/financial processes mentioned above.

Insurance sector

The insurance sector, on the other hand, uses this technology to automatically offer the indemnities due to the policyholder (e.g. for flight delays, road accidents, etc.). The system will be able to automatically process the checks on the circumstances, calculate the amount due and much more.

In addition, some of the sector’s major companies are developing Blockchains capable of providing interesting data and information regarding road accidents declared by their policyholders.

Therefore, it is a network that contains all data relating to accidents, claims and the like.

This will make it much easier for insurers to assess a person’s or vehicle’s insurance history and, consequently, evaluate the type of insurance contract offered to the customer.

Industrial sector

Blockchains have already been in use in the industrial sector for several years, although in truth they are yet to reach their “peak”.

In this sector, the purpose of Blockchains is to speed up execution times, reduce costs and create value through new business models.

The most striking example is that of the Supply Chain Tracking System, which is the industrial solution based on Blockchains that is most widespread among companies.

It allows the tracking of products, starting right from their origin. It will therefore be possible to view the history of a product, from the raw materials through to the purchase phase.

I doesn’t stop there, because Blockchains are often used to return to a certain phase of the transport or production chain, so as to track the various steps of the product in the company (e.g. from Manager X to Warehouse Y, from Warehouse Y to point of sale Z and so on).

IoT (Internet Of Things) sector

The Internet Of Things mainly concerns all the smart (“intelligent”) objects that surround us.

They include smartphones, tablets, PCs, smart appliances, home automation devices, smart industrial machinery and so on. Each object is connected and its use and application in different fields is facilitated.

In short, Blockchains are a fundamental piece of the IoT and are essential for the correct connection of machinery and smart devices and for their remote management.

Government Sector and Public Administration

Lastly, Blockchains can also be used in the government sector. In truth, this computer network is little used, as yet, but it should be noted that several Governments and Institutions are working to introduce this innovative tool into the Public Administration.

It can be used to track a taxpayer’s history, where they worked, for how long, how much they earned and so on.

For some years now, there has also been a rumor of the creation of a governance Blockchain, which the various governments will use for their citizens.It is a network containing all data relating to citizens, so as to simplify the work of the police and the Public Administration. Thanks to this technology, criminals and scammers will find things considerably more difficult, since Blockchains will prove very useful in finding them quickly.

An open "ledger" that can be viewed by everyone and shared

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