Understanding Blockchain and Its Benefits, Challenges, and Impacts on Businesses

Blockchain has enormous potential in today’s tech landscape. However, there is uncertainty about how the technology can be used to solve everyday business problems. CompTIA’s Councils & Communities Forum Online featured a panel of experts who provided explanations and answers. Blockchain has enormous potential in today’s tech landscape. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about how the technology can be used to solve everyday business problems.
What is blockchain? How can it be used to help businesses grow? A panel of blockchain experts answered these questions and more during a session at CompTIA’s Councils & Communities Forum Online.
The consensus: While there are many myths surrounding blockchain, it is secure and can be used to access, store, and analyze data. However, it may not work for all uses. According to the panelists, the more you understand it, the better you can make a decision for your particular environment.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a way to store information in small databases called blocks. Each block contains an encrypted record that makes each set of information visible to anyone who has access to the technology. As blocks are added to a chain, a chronological record of all actions is created, which in turn creates an immutable ledger. Only authorized parties can access the stored information. The owner of the information has the right to revoke or provide access to the block of information at their discretion.
“When I want it to be the most basic, I use the elementary school example where you make paper chains that interlock. Deborah Kestin Schildkraut is the IBM Blockchain &Global Alliances Marketing Leader and chair of CompTIA’s Blockchain Advisory Council.
Blockchain holds great promise for businesses. It allows for secure access to information, greater transparency and inherent validation along with increased efficiency and security. Blockchain is a decentralized way to collect information. It also allows for the trusted transfer of information without any oversight from any governing body.
Statista predicts that blockchain solutions will be used to spend nearly $18 billion in 2024, according to forecasts.
“The technology as a whole consists of built-in workflow logic (which we call smart contracts) and data storage, which is in a way similar to a database. The big difference is that, depending on your software’s rules, what gets stored also gets shared among other members of the software system,” explained Elena Dumitrascu (CTO of TerraHub Technologies, vice chair of CompTIA’s Blockchain Advisory Council). This visibility creates an inherent validation system because all actions are visible to the blockchain users.
What is the difference between private and public blockchain?
Private and public blockchains differ only in terms of user access. These are often referred as permissioned and non-permissioned. Anyone can access public blockchains and the information is stored on all connected systems around the world. Private blockchains, however, can only be accessed by those who have been granted access. Despite the implications of the terms public and privat, information is still protected. Access to private blockchains is restricted to those who have the encryption key. While the record is still available, access to the block can only been granted by the owner.
What is the difference between cryptocurrency (or blockchain)?
Due to the extensive media coverage and growing popularity of Bitcoin among high-profile brands, cryptocurrency is getting a lot of attention. It is often mistakenly thought that cryptocurrency and blockchain are synonymous. Cryptocurrency is money that uses blockchain as its underlying technology to secure storage and transfer. Adam Lesh, a technologist at AL Consulting and chairperson of the Blockchain Advisory Council, says that cryptocurrency is a use-case for blockchain. “Blockchain makes it possible for people money to be held in a place other than a bank in an distributed way, a decentralized manner.” Although this is a great application for blockchain technology, the technology has many other potential uses.
Where can I use blockchain?
Data breaches have shown us the importance of information and the need for it to be protected. UpGuard estimates that the global cost for data breaches will reach $6 trillion each year. Blockchain offers a unique opportunity for visibility and validation that is unmatched by anything else. From a business perspective, the true value is in the potential for tran