Blockchain: A Useful Technology That I Don’t Quite Understand (yet)

You hear a lot about blockchain nowadays. It is touted to be a game-changing technology. There is a good explanation of what blockchain is in this Reuters page.

I am not an expert on blockchain; I’m still just trying to figure out how it works. If I had to explain it in a few sentences, it would sound like this:

Blockchain is a data store that is saved on many different computers. When data is added to the data store, the checksum for the whole datastore is updated and sent to all of the computers. If someone were to change a record, other than adding a new record, the checksum wouldn’t add up to be what the most original checksum was, and you would know that somebody had tried to change a historical record.

The ability to have a data store where no one can change historical records is incredibly handy when it comes to transactional records. If you are sure that no one can ever change a contract, or a purchase transaction record, then you can be confident that blockchain can record your shipping records or your bitcoin balance.

A Startup That Will Make Millions

Here is a startup idea that I don’t have the technical skill to execute, but you are welcome to borrow this idea.

Every day people receive a tonne of phishing and spam email. A lot of it is making it into our inboxes because it is hard to verify whether this is a valid email or now.

If you could figure out a way to have a blockchain record that would verify the legitimacy of the email address, and email, being sent, you would have a business that would make millions.

Even as I wrote this, I realized that it wasn’t going to be as simple as I thought, but I will post this half-baked idea anyway. Just in case it sparks an idea in someone who understands the technology better than I.

Wrap Up

Today’s post is about something that I know little about. But in talking through what you don’t know about, you learn and open conversations. Thanks for letting me think through this ‘out loud’ with you.