Blockchain is the revolutionary technology behind Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. But beyond the buzzword, it is revolutionising a number of sectors including health, finance and contract management.
What is blockchain?
"Blockchain is a secure, transparent and decentralised information transmission and storage technology - i.e. one that operates without intermediaries or control bodies.
More precisely, the blockchain is a database where the information sent is grouped by blocks, hence the name. Imagine, for example, an Excel file where each cell contains information linked together by chains of blocks - which would be the rows in our example.
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Blockchain, what is it for?
The blockchain enables fast data transfers directly from sender to receiver. This is known as peer-to-peer. This means that the exchange takes place from one Internet user to another without any bank, credit institution or control.
Blockchain, how does it work?
With the blockchain, each transaction is recorded in a block. All transactions that have taken place since the blockchain was created are kept, as well as all the different versions of the information.
The magic of blockchain? When information is shared, it is shared simultaneously with all users.
Because the blockchain is secure, all transactions are always traceable and no one can falsify them.
Blockchain and smart contracts
Contrary to what one might think, the smart contract is not really a contract, but rather a software program. This concept was established in the mid-1990s by the scientist Nick Szabo. Because it is based on the blockchain, the terms and conditions of smart contract executions are absolutely unforgeable.
While the execution of a traditional contract is governed by a legal framework, the execution of a smart contract is governed by computer code. The execution of a smart contract therefore requires no intervention by a third party and has no legal authority.