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.

the sting Milestones

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

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights:the role of medical students

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

The vital role played by logistics during humanitarian crises

Will CETA be implemented after eight long years or it will be vetoed by the EU citizen?

A new global platform to unleash entrepreneurs on the world’s toughest problems

EP launches Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism on anniversary of her murder

EU citizens want more competences for the EU to deal with crises like COVID-19

COP25: ‘Signals of hope’ multiplying in face of global climate crisis, insists UN chief Guterres

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

Why are so few women buying into Bitcoin?

3 cognitive biases perpetuating racism at work – and how to overcome them

The EU will always have a stable partner in Montenegro, says President Đukanović

The jobs forecast is unsettled. It’s time for a reskilling revolution

This one small change could transform education for millions

Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

6 young leaders who are improving the state of the world on International Youth Day

Human rights chief calls for international probe on Venezuela, following ‘shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings’

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

UN working ‘intensively’ to stop Ebola in eastern DR Congo, following second case in major border town

Oslo leads the way in ‘Breathe Life’ campaign for cleaner cities in climate change era

Bureaucracy in the member states again the obstacle for long due strong European Hedge Funds

London is becoming the world’s first National Park City

1 in 7 people would choose not to fly because of climate change

Libyan national conference postponed, nearly 500,000 children at ‘direct risk’ from fighting around Tripoli

Industrial clusters using green hydrogen can drive clean energy transition in Europe and China

UN mobilizes in Rohingya camps to support babies born of rape; young mothers face stigma

The crucial need to prioritise palliative care in Universal Health Care

Could 2021 be a turning point for forests and climate change?

$675 million appeal to stop coronavirus in its tracks, as deaths rise

What wealth managers can learn from family dynamics

How’s Life? reveals improvements in well-being but persistent inequalities

The challenge of maintaining interest in Primary Health Care in medical students

Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets

Heart attacks and strokes are more common on high pollution days, data shows

Governments can fight corruption by joining the digital payment revolution

These are the benefits of learning a second language

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

State aid: Commission approves € 1.6 billion Polish scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak and provide liquidity support

Science is ‘key’ to pushing forward the 2030 Agenda, UN development forum told

Greece to stay in the euro area but the cost to its people remains elusive

India’s future as a world power depends on 4 key relationships

Trade MEPs promise thorough scrutiny of the EU-UK agreement

How Asia could be the winner in the US and China’s Belt and Road race

Africa’s shrinking lake shows the impact of climate change on women and indigenous people

Quarantine: A mental health guide for every mood

European Commission kicks off major EU trade policy review

New Eurobarometer survey shows: The majority of Europeans think the EU should propose additional measures to address air quality problems

This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 – is it time for a new approach?

UN policewoman recognized for ‘speaking up and speaking out’ on behalf of the vulnerable

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

Afghanistan: UN envoy urges further extension of ceasefire with Taliban, as Eid ul-Fitr gets underway

The European reaction to the neo-fascist wind

Computer skills are crucial for children – in lockdown and in life

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