Blockchain (and some cryptocurrency)
Although created back in 2009, Blockchain technology has recently emerged as a breakthrough platform among current cryptocurrency popularity. Put simply, a blockchain is a series of transactions, or “blocks”, that are interconnected and virtually impossible to be tampered with. The high-security aspect of this technology is very attractive to businesses dealing with highly confidential data, like banks. An additional capability of the blockchain is the removal of reliance on a third party during a transaction. This technology offers a simple and secure peer-to-peer transaction method. The major disadvantage of blockchain technology is the speed of transactions. Because each node on a blockchain network must process each new transaction, it can take significantly longer. However, this is part of its security feature, as every single previous transaction created must be changed if one desires to tamper with a new block (this is basically impossible).
Hundreds of applications are now built on a blockchain, with the most popular being Bitcoin and Ethereum. Although Bitcoin was what opened many eyes to blockchain technology, major companies are showing interest in Ethereum’s blockchain because of a specific capability it offers that Bitcoin does not. Ethereum was built on a blockchain that supports something called smart contracts. Blockchains that support smart contracts allow things like loans and other payments to take place automatically after minimal input into the system. For example, a person that puts an innovation on Kickstarter will collect his/her donations once the goal is met. However, Kickstarter will return donations to the donators if the project does not reach its goal. The third party in this example, Kickstarter, is no longer needed when a user (or a large business like Microsoft) utilizes a blockchain that offers smart contracts, saving time and money. Will blockchain technology continue to develop and in turn drive the value of cryptocurrencies up as well?