Blockchain Brief

“The interface of the disciplines” is where the interesting things happen, Don Ingber, Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

It’s that attitude that we take with Compassionate Technologies. Taking one technology, and cutting across the verticals of research, technology, business, and social impact.

Last week we covered a host of exciting events at HUBWeek in Boston and Cambridge, MA. Here’s one of the highlights from #HUBWeek:

#Blockchain

Blockchain is the underlying technology of bitcoin, currently priced at over $600 per coin. It's not uncommon to hear someone say "I bought 0.3 bitcoins back when the price was low."

Blockchain is a “shared, replicated, permissioned ledger technology that maintains a continuously growing list of records which resist tampering," says Gari Singh, Blockchain CTO with IBM.

Research

At it’s core, blockchain is built off the science of cryptography, transferring information balancing needs for speed and security. Each block in the chain is linked to one before and one after - and these blocks are often not kept on the same servers. The system will not read a broken chain.

Technology

Each system has it’s own set of rules, so a system is only as secure as it’s rule and data distribution frameworks. It’s more secure than our current centralized systems, where “honey pots” of data are kept all in one place.

Business

A famous system that you’ve heard of is Bitcoin, but there are others such as Ethereum, a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts, which was hacked in June 16, 2016 losing $53M. Ethereum then hacked the hacker on June 22, recovering funds, skyrocketing their DAO tokens.

Blockchain is more and more so being used in the financial sector, where “66% of banks expect to have blockchain solutions in production in the next 3 years” according to the Institute for Business Value.

Social Impact

But blockchain goes beyond banking, it also plays a potentially powerful role in voting. Nimit Sawhney, co-founded Voatz, a way to vote securely using blockchain, biometrics, and wearables (see below). If it were around today, you could vote from your smartphone in the upcoming November general election.

Given that voting isn’t easy in the United States, and only roughly half of eligible Americans voted in the last general election, being able to vote from your phone as easily as ordering an Uber would drastically change the face of elections. It would open a potential shift in voting power from older, rural populations to younger, city populations.

More Links

Understanding the Blockchain (Jan 2015, William Mougayar)

Blockchain Enhances Privacy, Security and Conveyance of Data (June 2016, Scientific American, Mihaela Ulieru)

Blockchain at HUBWeek