December 31, 2018 at 06:00
Will the blockchain change the way we do business?
Blockchain technologies can be used in various ways: to monitor financial and commodity markets, to verify educational credentials or to monitor the production and distribution of legalized controlled substances such as marijuana.
"People talk about a global economy, but about what we really have [now] it's global commerce, "said Michael W. McGraw, senior vice president of information technology at Mars Mars, in Butler County.
McGraw said that blockchain could change all that, creating a unique world economy.
While the country's individual currencies – the dollar, the euro, the pound sterling or the yen continue to dominate trade and commerce, McGraw said that blockchain and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin could theoretically create a single reality economic.
Blockchain works like a virtual data register and once created it can not be changed. Data blocks are linked to create a record – or a chain of transactions – which translates into a trusted trace of information that is distributed and updated simultaneously on multiple computers.
It takes traditional accounting records, which are specific to a single financial transaction or institution as a bank, and "creates a ledger distributed on the Internet," McGraw said.
From a practical standpoint, McGraw said that blockchain and cryptocurrency are reaching remote villages and areas currently not served by banking or lending institutions and allowing a new generation of entrepreneurs to emerge.
"There are two billion people all over the world who do not have access to banks, remote villages without banks, but they have cell towers and internet access, they can use blockchain and internet to sell livestock," McGraw said.
Cryptocurrency is a digital resource designed to operate as an exchange rate. Bitcoin is the most commonly referenced cryptocurrency.
Daniel Guadalupe thinks that blockchain could change the world. He is a lawyer with Norris McLaughlin Law in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and co-chair of the law firm's group of lawyers. Norris McLaughlin has offices in Allentown.
Guadalupe said the company is poised at a "turning point" and believes the blockchain will change business. "This could be bigger than the industrial revolution itself," said Guadalupe.
The industrial revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries changed the way things were done. Production assets created mass-produced everyday items, inaugurating the mechanized era and moving away from hand-made products.
Blockchain could replace many of the systems we know and use today to track information, conduct transactions and keep records.
An example is Gradbase, a blockchain platform used by educators and employers. It makes it almost impossible to lie about your credentials.
Gradbase uses blockchain to verify college credentials or curriculum vitae so potential employers can eliminate candidates who are dishonest about their education or degrees.
"With Gradbase, an employer can confirm the degree [an applicant] puts on a resume, "because the degree would be uploaded by the college or university, giving the degree," said Guadalupe.
For controlled substances, blockchain can be used to monitor medicinal and recreational marijuana, as each state has its own reporting requirements and regulations.
"With marijuana, they need to report it from the time the seed goes into the land until sale," said Robert C. Gabrielski, a lawyer for Norris McLaughlin at Bridgewater. He is president of the corporate and international law groups.
While theoretically public access is open, blockchain requires certain user credentials.
McGraw compared the blockchain to the Internet. He said that if a blockchain record represents the entire Internet, then the way, or "key", is very similar to the private access credentials needed to access an email or banking account or online.
While in theory anyone can access it, transactions are actually accessible between individuals or groups with appropriate private keys.
WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?
Blockchain was invented in 2008 by a person called Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identification is unverified. The name can refer to more than one individual. Blockchain was born as a way to monitor bitcoin virtual currency but has evolved over time. It works like a distributed ledger, where records on multiple computers are updated simultaneously for each transaction. Once formed, the individual data blocks can not be modified or modified.