What is blockchain?

If you’ve been reading our main Gemalto blog, especially our recent posts on smart energy, you’re bound to have come across the term blockchain. But what exactly is it and how does it work?

Blockchain first made its mark on the tech world with the rise of Bitcoin, a digital currency we’ve talked about before on JAG that is built on the technology.

Blockchain is a secure way of managing information. Data is stored as “blocks”, bound together into “chains”, using cryptographic technology. Because this information is distributed over lots of machines, it’s much more difficult (though not impossible) for a hacker to infiltrate and tamper with the system. The chronological chain of transactional information is created in such a way that it protects the information of the previous unit.

Many business leaders and tech innovators are recognizing blockchain’s potential to reshape business models. Businesses where you need to keep lots of records about customers could be simplified and made much more secure. The banking system, for instance, could better prevent money laundering and fraud by shifting to a blockchain-based system, with its robust, chronological record-keeping. The applications are endless and could benefit all areas of society.

Is there anything about blockchain that you’d like to know? Get in touch in the comments below, or by tweeting to us at @JustAskGemalto.