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CONVERGE | Technology

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Blockchain

Confused by blockchain? You’re not alone. Here’s a guide to understanding blockchain.

 

You’ve heard of blockchain, read some articles about it, and still have no idea what it is. The good news is that you’re not alone. Blockchain can seem overwhelming, especially for those without a tech background. What is it and how is it transforming businesses? Here’s the beginner’s guide to understanding blockchain. 

About Blockchain

At its core, blockchain is a hub for recording and storing transactions between at least two parties. This can be anything from financial transactions to lease agreements. Best of all, anyone can use the technology. All you need is a computer and a strong home internet service to make sure you can oversee transactions. To understand the impact of blockchain technology, let’s first recognize how transactions worked in the past. 

Consider the process of buying a home. Typically, there’s a buyer, seller, and real estate agent. The agent acts as the third-party who’s responsible for overseeing the transaction between the buyer and seller. With blockchain, the real estate agent is removed. Instead, purchase agreements move online to a safe and secure database. To achieve validation, both parties must sign and agree on its terms. From then on, the agreement cannot be altered or tampered. 

What does this mean for the buyer and seller? Fewer costs and more security knowing who is overseeing the agreement. Real estate is only a small-scale example of blockchain’s impact. For large businesses and corporations, the impact is even greater. Removing the middleman means more control and security for classified documents at a much lower cost. 

Blockchain in the Rental Industry

There are endless horror stories of tenants refusing to pay rent to their landlords. Blockchain may be putting these stories to bed with its streamlined contract process. Rather than relying on a promise to pay rent on time, blockchain enforces the contract. First, both parties must first decide on a rent amount and due date. Then, both party’s banks join into the contract. On the due date, blockchain auto-transfers money from the tenant’s account to the landlord’s. The best part is that once created and signed, the contract cannot be edited. No more “he said, she said”. Everything is in writing and filed within the global network. 

Blockchain in the Music Industry

It’s no secret that blockchain is already thriving in the financial industry. That said, it’s also beginning to take over the music industry. Like home purchase agreements, artist contracts are moving online, too. Property rights are now accessible in the global network. This means that any disputes over ownership can be easily settled by viewing the blockchain. Best of all, royalties from sales and streaming plays can be delivered directly to the artist. This removes the need for a middleman, which is often the record company. Artists are now making more money and streaming services are staying prevalent. 

Blockchain in the Food Industry

The bag of chips you picked up at the grocery store last week might use blockchain, too. Food and beverage companies have begun using this technology to build consumer trust. From early production stages to shelf life, consumers can see every product interaction by scanning the code on the package. That pasta you thought was “Made in Italy” might actually be from Michigan. The broccoli labeled “Organic” may have been genetically modified. Thanks to blockchain, you can learn the truth about the food you’re buying. 

 

As blockchain continues to take over a wide variety of industries, it’s important that you understand how it works and how it could impact your life. Interested in seeing it for yourself? Grab your computer, connect to your home internet service, and explore the ever-growing phenomenon. 

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