As ability to bridge the poverty gap worldwide,


the world is scrambling to understand and utilize Bitcoin, the technology that
the cryptocurrency is built upon is changing the way the internet will be viewed
and utilized. This technology is called Blockchain. Blockchain technology is
being touted as the web 3.0, promising to change the foundation upon which
business, government, social, and financial transactions are conducted.

A blockchain is an “open, decentralized ledger that
can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and
permanent way without the need for a central authority” (McLain, 2017). The first application of Blockchain technology was
Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, introduced in 2008 where every transaction is
recorded on a massive public ledger- the Blockchain. The five basic principles
upon which Blockchain technology is based include a distributed database, peer
to per transmission, transparency with pseudonymity, irreversibility of
records, and computational logic (The Truth About Blockchain 2017) These principles
offer a solution to a problem that is being asked by governments, businesses,
and consumers, how do we regulate and decide who has control over the
contracts, transactions, and the records of these actions.

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Blockchain promises to reduce the cost of verification
and networking, decrease or eliminate the need for intermediaries, and increase
privacy and security. One example of blockchain technology is the ability to
bridge the poverty gap worldwide, since it would provide access to money as
long as you have a smartphone without the worry of transfer fees. According to
a recent NY Times Article, “Blockchain: A Better way to track pork chops,
bonds, bad peanut butter?” IBM has partnered with Walmart to track produce from
Latin America to the United States and with Maersk to track the paperwork that
is associated with a shipping container (Popper and Lohr, 2017). However, there
are many critics calling the technology a perfect storm for criminal activity
and cite the darknet site known as Silk Road that was shut down by the FBI in 2013
after an estimated billion dollars in trades in two years. Proponents are quick
to point out that it was the Blockchain ledger that allowed the FBI to track
and locate the persons behind Silk Road1.

With the implementation of the Ethereum platform, a
decentralized platform for application the future applications of Blockchain
technology are endless, examples include Internet of Things security,
healthcare management, and protection of your identity.

See CNN Money article highlighting the steps the FBI undertook to trace Bitcoin
back to Silk Road’s founder Ross Ulbricht