Artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and the internet of things are some of the most ground-breaking applications of the digital revolution we are living in the last decade. We are all aware of the profound implications that these will have on business models and strategies, education, and even the competitiveness of nations.
Most executives we confront with these issues do not hesitate at defining them, and very few challenge the amazing transformations that they entail. In contrast, when we ask our executive audiences, in a show of hands, to define what blockchain is, very few are able to do it in a convinced and convincing way.
«In principle this looks like a harmless technology»
Blockchain is, in my opinion, the biggest innovation that we are witnessing today, only at par with the internet, the personal computer and the euro. It is a technological innovation: in fact, and at a pure computing level, the blockchain is a decentralized ledger, that is, a list of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network.
In principle this looks like a harmless technology. However, it solves one of the most secular and complex problems in computing: how to provide security and trust in a peer-to-peer network without a central authority. If you have a look at any interaction that two individuals have through the internet, they are all intermediated: banking transactions, payments, e-commerce, social network interactions, email, job searches, property rentals, online auctions…