Bitcoin reached record high volumes just days after New Years 2017, Ethereum introduced a programming language which enables users to create organizational wallets and issue a token as equity, but these cryptocurrencies are merely the result of a more fundamental change in technology, Blockchain.

Bitcoin Value in USD from Jan 2008 to Jan 2017

Blockchain-related projects had over $1B in venture capital funding in 2016 through HyperLedgerRipple, and IBM’s Watson.

The Bitcoin White Paper, the document unveiling the blockchain technology, and Bitcoin, was delivered unto the world by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto. From the initial block, every interaction between users is added to each subsequent block, which can only be produced after a consensus is reached between the required percentage of users.

Nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone. They vote with their CPU power, expressing their acceptance of valid blocks by working on extending them and rejecting invalid blocks by refusing to work on them. Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.

—Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

ethereum, cryptocurrency bitcoin ether

These exchanges can facilitate the rights to anything, whether that be a digital token being exchanged for cash, equity in an online entity, anything you can imagine on a tamper-resilient, easily publicly available, open-source platform.

Estimates from Accenture indicate that Blockchain technology would cut infrastructure costs by $8-$12B dollars annually. Data on the world’s eight largest financial institutions showed an average savings of 30% on infrastructure, and reducing compliance costs as much as 50%.

The healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated. Blockchain technology provides a highly secure, decentralized framework for data sharing that will accelerate innovation throughout the industry,

—Shahram Ebadollahi, Vice President for Innovations and Chief Science Officer, IBM Watson Health

Blockchain isn’t just cryptographic theory or sloganeering, it’s bringing real returns to sectors across the economy.

With investments from large companies such as such as VisaIBMMedtronic, and Walmart showing their support, its innovative potential—for applications besides cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin—show some promise. Now it is up to the entrepreneurs to see whether Blockchain has a place apart from all of its e-coin offspring–or if minting digital money will be its sole purpose in the years ahead.

This piece was originally published for an older version of the site, on March 27th 2017

Blockchain and Bitcoins strike your fancy–you’re in luck–Dark Market Economist will keep you updated on the latest in fintech and more in our economics section!

  • Tyler Newman


    A journalist determined to tell the stories tucked away in the shadowy corners of the digital world, specializing in coverage of U.S. politics and international trade. He has produced and written stories for the Growler magazine, the Rift Magazine, and the Minnesota Daily.

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