5 key concepts for blockchain newbies

blockchain

(André François McKenzie, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Peter A. McKay, Content producer, Dispatch Labs, Hanns-Christian Hanebeck, Founder and CEO, Truckl & Nadia Hewett, Project Lead, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology, World Economic Forum


One of the little talked-about challenges in the blockchain space is the need to communicate effectively to an audience that encompasses wildly divergent needs. While entrepreneurs, developers and other early adopters are often the loudest voices in the public conversation around blockchain, there’s also a vastly wider constituency of ‘blockchain curious’ beginners who require more introductory information.

Often, these groups’ needs must be served simultaneously, as we discovered recently while working on a whitepaper for the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution about the deployment of distributed ledger technology (a broad category that includes blockchain) in supply chains. Our paper – the third in the series – delves specifically into whether supply-chain projects should use public or private blockchains.

This is one of the hottest areas of debate right now among start-ups and other stakeholders already active in the blockchain space. At the same time, however, we had to be cognizant that many people who might read our paper, including non-technical senior leaders within enterprises and government, might need some extra help to contextualize this public/private debate.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about blockchain?

Blockchain is an early-stage technology that enables the decentralized and secure storage and transfer of information. It has the potential to be a powerful tool for tracking goods, data, documentation and transactions. In this way, it can cut out intermediaries, reduce corruption, increase trust and empower users.

The potential uses of blockchain technology are essentially limitless, as every transaction is recorded and distributed on a ledger that is almost impossible to hack. Though the most well-known use case is cryptocurrencies, blockchain is being positioned to become a global decentralized source of trust that could be used to collect taxes, reduce financial fraud, improve healthcare privacy and even ensure voting security.

Blockchain has the potential to upend entire systems – but it also faces challenges. Read more about the work we have launched on blockchain and distributed ledger technology – to ensure the technology is deployed responsibly and for the benefit of all. We’re working on accelerating the most impactful blockchain use cases, ranging from making supply chains more inclusive to making governments more transparent, as well as supporting Central Banks in exploring digital currencies.

To that end, all the white papers in the supply chain series so far have included glossaries of basic blockhain terms, for the benefit of readers unfamiliar with the space.

Here are five key terms we thought newcomers might find particularly useful:

1) Distributed ledger technology: Software that uses a blockchain or similar data structure shared over a network of participants who distribute and verify information about transactions.

2) Cryptography: The methods of using mathematical cyphers (or codes) to protect or ‘encrypt’ transactions from third parties as the transactions are being stored or shared.

3) Token: A digital asset used in a blockchain transaction. A token can be native to the blockchain, such as a cryptocurrency, or it can be a digital representation of an off-chain asset (known as a tokenised asset), such as the title to a house.

4) Network nodes: Nodes represent agents or participants on a blockchain network, such as banks, government agencies, individuals, manufacturers or securities firms. Depending on the permissions set in the network, they may be able to approve, validate, send or receive transactions and data.

5) Consensus protocol: A set of rules and processes that determine how nodes on a blockchain network reach agreement about a set of data and whether to approve, or validate, transactions in the network.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Why Commissioner Rehn wants us all to work more for less

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

Guterres condemns killing of Bangladeshi peacekeeper in South Sudan, during armed attack on UN convoy

‘The green economy is the future,’ UN chief says in Beijing, urging climate solutions that strengthen economies, protect the environment

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

The first-ever climate telethon has raised $2.6 million for new forests

Banks and businesses must step up and work together to fight climate change

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Commission deepens criticism on German economic policies

The deforestation risks lurking in the banking sector

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

Resilience and efficient doctor-patient relationship nowadays

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Hope’ on the horizon as UN Peacekeepers push deep into Mali

Finland has a new eco-fashion line – clothes made from trees

Here’s how blockchain could stop corrupt officials from stealing school lunches

How bad could British healthcare get for its citizens abroad post-Brexit?

The EU heads of State and Government about the result of the European Elections 2019

Business should be joyful – just ask the sports world

At this Italian bookshop, children swap their recycling for something to read

Sudan: UN chief deplores excessive force used against pro-democracy protesters, calls on military and civilian leaders to ‘stay the course’ in negotiations

The EU Parliament and the ECB unknowingly or unwillingly fail to protect our financial assets

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

Yemen update: UNICEF chief condemns attack in Taiz that claims lives of seven children

Energy: new ambitious targets on renewables and energy efficiency

A Sting Exclusive: “Regional Policy: a fully-fledged investment policy”, Commissioner Cretu reveals live from European Business Summit 2015

DR Congo: Insecurity and attacks mean Ebola will keep spreading, warns world health agency

American negotiators can’t pay for their trip to Brussels, EU-US trade agreement freezes

AI can help us unlock the world’s most complex operating system – the human body

The number of internally displaced people is at a record high. Here’s why

India is building a high-tech sustainable city from scratch

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

Execution of juvenile offender in Iran ‘deeply distressing’ – UN rights chief

AI can be a game-changer for the world’s forests. Here’s how

Tackling water scarcity: 4 ways to pull H20 out of thin air

The psychology of pandemics

Canada has created an Arctic conservation zone almost as big as Germany

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

Top officials say UN will support Bahamas’ rescue, relief efforts as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic

Humane leadership must be the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s real innovation

General Elections in Spain: Twitter organises the first digital debate to empower young people.

EU Justice Scoreboard 2019: results show the continuing need to protect judicial independence

EU budget: Commission proposes most ambitious Research and Innovation programme yet

‘No hope’ global development goals can be achieved without women, says UN Assembly President

EU responds to terror fallout by eroding borderless Europe and molesting the refugees

Stage set for successful 2020 Burundi elections, Foreign Minister tells General Assembly

These are the best cities for tech

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Cities & Regions Launch Major Five-Year Vision to Take Action on Climate Change

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

Terrorist content online: MEPs agree to start negotiations with EU countries

These countries are leading the charge to clean energy

Public health through universal health coverage can help to attain many SDGs

Macron defends the idea of European sovereignty

Sassoli: Migration agreement respects fundamental principles of Parliament’s proposal

‘Air bridge’ vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo

ILO welcomes new UNDP report that places decent work at the heart of sustainable development

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe must be more ambitious in COP21 and lead on climate finance and sustainable development”, Green UK MEP Jean Lambert points out from Brussels

A safer, more dignified journey for all migrants, tops agenda at global conference in Marrakech

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

Migration and the climate crisis: the UN’s search for solutions

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s