Caton: What's the blockchain? | INFORUM

Hamse Warfa, a presenter of the TEDx Fargo event last month, shared his vision on the use of the blockchain to connect the world's poor to the global economy.

But what is blockchain?

Blockchain is a secure record that transmits transactions publicly while maintaining private identities. It allows two parties to exchange goods and currency without the need for a third party to ensure the transfer of goods from each party. This record can also support the creation of "smart contracts" that are automatically executed when certain criteria have been met.

Blockchain can be used to track crops, protect health data, transfer money across national borders, create safe and reliable voting systems, and much more.

While we are still at the beginning of understanding how the blockchain will transform our society, clearly the potential uses of this technology are different. Only time and experimentation by entrepreneurs and tinkers will show exactly the impact the blockchain will have. The Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise at North Dakota State University hosts the RAP conference on Blockchain on 27 October in Fargo. The vision of this conference is to develop our understanding of this thriving technology, explore its implications for commerce and politics and support entrepreneurs who seek to use and share this technology for the betterment of society. The call for papers and presentations for RAP on Blockchain is currently open to entrepreneurs, politicians, technologists, academics and others interested in presenting at the conference. Proposals can be submitted online at www.ndsu.edu/centers/pcpe/events/rap. The deadline for registering is August 15th. We are pleased to bring this unique conference in North Dakota. We hope to discuss these ideas will help to stimulate innovation to strengthen our economy and improve well-being.

Caton is an assistant professor of agribusiness and applied economics and a faculty colleague at the Center for the Study of Public and Private Choice Enterprise at North Dakota State University.

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