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Blockchain, how new technologies are chaining to the future

The rise and shakeout of cryptocurrencies has brought blockchain technology into the spotlight and controversy. However as 2018 begins, blockchain technology is beginning to show potential for application in more areas, how will this technology evolve?

On the 19th, at the "Chain to the Future - Global Blockchain Application Value Summit" held in Beijing, experts at the meeting said that blockchain technology provides more solutions for government information sharing, reducing transaction costs, product traceability, media copyright authentication, etc. In understanding its temporary shortcomings, it is worth paying attention to this technology with an open attitude.

Liu Quan, director of the Sadie Blockchain Research Institute, said that blockchain technology carries extended significance far beyond the category of cryptocurrency, and it can enable unseen cooperative parties to trust each other without the intervention of an authority. This technology, commonly understood as "distributed bookkeeping", can reduce transaction costs by creating a technical mechanism for mutual trust that can handle many transactions that would otherwise be brokered by intermediaries.

According to Liu Quan, blockchain technology also provides revolutionary means for information anti-counterfeiting and data tracking. The data blocks in the blockchain are sequentially connected to form a data chain bar, which can prevent artificial tampering with time and trace back past time information; the encryption algorithm of blockchain technology and the application of electronic signature, etc. can also well solve the problems of information protection and authorized access; problems such as misappropriation of charity money and subsidies will be reduced by the application of blockchain technology, because the programmable feature of the technology is used to embed a code while the assets are transferred, which can stipulate the scope of future use of the assets and prevent misappropriation.

According to Yu Tuo, founder of Five Six Finance, which hosted the summit, blockchain technology also has huge application scenarios in traditional industries, such as agricultural product traceability, media copyright authentication, supply chain finance, etc. With more and more tech giants rapidly laying out in the blockchain field, the application of blockchain technology is accelerating, and the blockchain economy may play a very important role in the accelerated integration of the new economy with the old one.

Blockchain technology is also showing signs of being used in the IoT space. Fortune Magazine recently reported that one of the big technology evolution trends for 2018 is that the Internet of Things becomes the Internet of Blockchain Things. Blockchain can make IoT devices more useful. It can create digital records for millions of computers, dramatically reducing the risk of hacking.

Fortune magazine believes that the blockchain IoT can lead to a whole host of new services and business models. For example, it can be used to track the transport of medicines or to create smart cities. In smart cities, blockchain IoT for heating systems enables better control of energy use, among other things.

A growing number of countries are also becoming interested in blockchain technology. According to the Sadie Blockchain Research Institute, more than 20 governments around the world, including the United States, India, Japan and Germany, are currently dedicated to researching blockchain technology or setting up relevant research institutions.

In the south-central Indian city of Hyderabad, the local government is creating a technology park that applies a new payment system and blockchain technology in the hope of attracting more tech companies to the city. Governments such as the UK are testing the use of blockchain technology for public service systems, such as blockchain land registries.

In terms of enhancing government work, some industry experts cite the example that blockchain technology, for example, can be used to enhance the authenticity and traceability of environmental data by being open and transparent and non-tamperable, so that the bad records of enterprises cannot be eliminated or changed, and violations cannot be hidden.

The vast promise of blockchain technology holds unlimited potential. However, experts at the meeting believe that the development of blockchain technology is still in its early stages, and while focusing on its development trends with an open attitude, there are also some shortcomings that need attention.

Liu Quan said the blockchain technology development process is currently facing a lack of top-level design, core technology breakthroughs, talent shortcomings and other issues, although the most important is still the security issue.

Experts believe that from the current point in time, blockchain technology is very much like the stage the Internet went through years ago in its development, like the blind man feeling the elephant, with many opportunities but also investment risks.

In the view of many experts, blockchain technology is still in its early stages and has the potential to be applied to social life on a large scale like cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other technologies, but more progress in software, hardware, talent and other aspects are needed in the future to ensure its perfection and benign development.

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