From fine wine to lotteries, blockchain tech takes off.
21:06 04 April 2016
Can you imagine a world where cash does not exist? This is just one of the many scenarios being mooted by an increasingly excited blockchain community.
The technology, which underpins the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, has been around for decades. It is an encrypted database distributed across a computer network that can be updated only when everyone in the network agrees. Once the information is entered, it cannot be altered, making the technology not just reliable but extremely secure.
Terry Roche, head of financial technology research at financial advisory firm, Tabb Group, said: "Blockchain, for perhaps the first time, presents a legitimate threat to the status quo.”
The community continuous to grow as more and more individuals are looking for new, related applications, from peer-to-peer lending to smart contracts.
Developer Brian Hoffman said: "Our goal is to unbundle the incumbent marketplaces around the world by offering a more private, secure and flexible option that isn't controlled by any one corporate interest, but rather, by the users themselves,"
Companies like San Francisco-based Hedgy and SmartContract are already building businessed based on this concept.
Emmanuel Viale, a managing director of Accenture's Technology Labs, said that by incorporating smart contracts with the “internet of things”, blockchain tech could have uses far beyond the financial sector.
"You could have a wearable fitness tracker that would send the number of calories or steps taken to the blockchain. The data is encrypted and my identity is anonymised. The same with home medical devices," he says.
"The Blockchain would create a link with health professionals - whether coaches, doctors or healthcare institutions - and the smart contract could trigger needed services - whether it's a fitness regime or treatment for a chronic disease."