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.
Blockchain applications are far broader than just cryptocurrencies though, the algorithm is after all the product of cryptographic research.
The FDA and IBM health signed a two-year development agreement testing ways to implement decentralized health records through IBM's Watson. The development initiative will explore storing citizen's health records through a blockchain, with their individual records making their information inaccessible except to those whom a person permits to see it, ranging between doctors, insurance companies, regulatory bodies, and other medical organizations.
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
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
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.
Blockchain isn’t just cryptographic theory or sloganeering, it is yielding in a number of sectors.
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%.
We'll have to wait and see where Blockchain goes but with investments from large companies such as such as Visa, IBM, Medtronic, and Walmart showing their support, Blockchain's upward trajectory is unlikely to falter.