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What is Blockchain & Blockchain Startups to Follow

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by Startacus Admin

what is blockchain

Blockchain
- most known for being the underpinning technology of Bitcoin - is a digital ledger. It is a way of recording transactions, agreements, or anything that is best being independently recorded and verified. Everyone who needs it can see the ledger in real time, meaning they are always looking at the most up-to-date version, keeping everything transparent. 

The way blockchain works is by storing collections of records (blocks) that are connected both chronologically and cryptographically (making a chain).

A big part of blockchain is that the data is stored across multiple computers, and those multiple computers carry out the encryption process, called ‘hashing’. When the computers come to a consensus and apply this, each block is assigned a unique digital signature.
 

Blockchain is a particularly safe method of data recording, and not just because of the hashing. What is stored is not the details of, say, the bank account used for a transaction, but rather the fact that it happened and the ‘hash’. What is stored in a blockchain cannot be deleted or altered, only added to, making it safer still. On top of that, the fact that a blockchain database is distributed across multiple computers - a handful or thousands all around the world - means hackers would have a hard time getting at it properly, as they would have to gain access to every computer involved, simultaneously. Without doing this, any change would create a new hash and the entire network would be alerted.


This technology has some promising applications, and here are a few examples of startups looking to take advantage of it.

blockchain startups

Provenance

Provenance was founded on a frustration of how little consumers know about the products they buy and the potential impact their creation has had on the planet. Using blockchain, Provenance aims to give brands the power to become more transparent with regards to the origins and history of their products. Through their technology, consumers can easily see and verify the stories linked to their chosen products.

This is a good way to make businesses more responsible when it comes to sourcing materials and manufacturing, etc., but can also help combat the spread of counterfeit goods. Clearly, the Provenance technology could be used for an even broader market when it comes to combating fraud and counterfeiting.

Colony

Colony is an interesting one. It is a platform for people all over the world to come together to make companies online. Rather than being managed by fallible individuals, companies (or colonies) are managed by democracy, giving decision-making to the crowd - everyone has a voice, and the more experienced a user is the more influence they have. Users build up their profile by contributing to colonies, demonstrating their skills and expertise. 

Colony boasts that you are no longer constrained by your CV, as if you’re good at something, rather than interviewing for a job, you just get on and do it. In this way, you compete for ‘tokens’, which can then be traded for money.

Slock.it

Slock.it seeks to connect the blockchain with the physical world. Their primary project at present is the idea of cutting out the middleman from renting, selling, and sharing with digital contracts using, of course, blockchain. For example, an owner of a holiday home can set the price per day for renting their home, and when you come across it, you send the house the transaction. When you arrive, you send it a digital door knock, it checks your unique ID against the one that sent the transaction, and then opens the front door for you. When you leave, the house can then use the same blockchain-based contract and transaction method to bring in a cleaner to make the place suitable for the next visitor. This can be used for all sorts of similar things, such as lockers, office doors, rented bikes and cars, etc. 

Slock.it is already working with RWE (npower in the UK) to bring tailored solutions to things like electric car recharging, and has many more interesting ideas in the pipeline.


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Published on: 11th December 2016

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