Honestly, ugh! It feels like one more thing I have to learn about. I would be inclined to say “I’ll look into it later” but It only takes a very brief read to quickly understand that this might be the next wave to change things behind the internet and “later” might be too late. Why? because blockchain will disrupt Industries that we interact with on a daily basis. Banking, Healthcare, Travel, Supply chain management all destined to change how they operate and interact with us in the not so distant future. In other words, blockchain one day will be used by everyone knowingly or unknowingly. I’ve decided to join the knowing crowd. I tried the wait and see thing with the internet and trust me that didn’t turn out so well. If your reading this your probably also trying to understand as much as you can about this new tech before it becomes an avalanche, and a constant game of catch up. If you’re asking what is blockchain? trust me you are not alone!!!. In the last week, more than half the people I asked hadn’t heard of it. So let’s take a look back. The technology was created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto (he, she, they) created the technology to use in the invention of Bitcoin. The blockchain technology invented for Bitcoin was designed to solve the double-spending problem without the need for a “trusted” authority or central server. Yes! it seems Satoshi was having some trust issues of his own back then. The internet in all it’s wonder solved the problem of connecting people, friends, family, strangers just all wonderfully connecting, so we thought.
However, with all these connections we have created some HUGE trust issues that I am sure even Satoshi couldn’t have imagined a few years back. All you need to do is turn on the news to see the likes of Equifax, Facebook, Uber, Target, Wells Fargo our elections to know we have huge “trust problems”. So why do all these companies violate trust? they are all corporations that manage and are entrusted with enormous amounts of data. Your data and billions of other peoples, as it grows(this data) becomes enormously valuable to these companies. They are then often faced with the daunting task of keeping this data safe and leveraging it (Yes! making money off of it) all at the same time a difficult task, to say the least, and one that becomes a hacker’s haven. So what does blockchain do differently? Think of it as public spreadsheet viewable and transparent to all. As information (a ledger) is created it is verified on this public spreadsheet encrypted and passed along linking the information in a chain (thus the term blockchain) each time the information is passed it is publicly verified, encrypted and linked again and again to this chain. Creating a decentralized database that is transparent and Immutable ….. The blockchain is beginning to create solutions for some of our “trust problems”
Here are 5 things to remember about Blockchain:
1. Blockchains are a fundamentally different way of accessing, storing and securing data.
2. Blockchain addresses our current centralized database problem. These current databases are centralized relying on one company to maintain the data’s security. As we all know data as it grows becomes enormously valuable and as companies attempt to secure and leverage “their” data they create enormous vulnerabilities for all of us. Increasing our lack of trust in how our data is handled and stored.
3. Blockchains are distributed, immutable and highly secure by design.
4. Blockchain allows unrelated parties to share and contribute to a single “Trusted” source of information.
5. Blockchain makes it possible to efficiently distribute ownership of data to one or more parties. A difficulty faced by centralized databases.
As a Physician, frustrated working in a fractured Healthcare system, It is fascinating and promising to think how blockchain will disrupt and improve healthcare. In today’s world as patients move about their medical records become siloed, fragmented and scattered impacting their quality of care. Imagine, a time when your Medical records in its entirety will be in your personal possession on the blockchain for you to share and decide who has access. Encouraging to think Blockchain has the ability to solve some of Medicine’s trust problems. What are your thoughts on blockchain and trust?