Recently the cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been making headlines almost daily for its rapid rise from just $2000 this past July to hitting the $10,000 mark only recently (up from 30 cents in 2011!) though some such as Mark Cuban and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon saying that the currency is heading towards an inevitable bubble and there are concerns with its association in criminal activity due to it being virtually untraceable. Whether or not Bitcoin is a worthwhile investment is not something I will get into here but regardless of what happens with the value its greatest asset, blockchain technology, is something that could help billions around the world.
How exactly blockchain works can be a little complicated so I invite you to do some research on your own to discover more on this fascinating topic but simply put, blockchain technology is what makes bitcoin secure, impossible to duplicate and the ability to make payments or transfers without the need for a central system like a third-party seller. This application can be useful for securing data like medical records or speedup payments (with real money) to places all over the world.
Spanish Bank BBVA made headlines recently by making a payment between Mexico and Spain for a tuna order using blockchain technology. What made this transaction so special was that it was completed in 2.5 hours instead of the standard 7-10 business days. BBVA is not alone as many financial institutions such as Brazil’s central bank and the Santiago Exchange have implemented this technology. This technology could be also be used for people wishing to send money home to their families at a much quicker rate and far lower cost than companies like Western Union. Blockchain’s can also be used to safely store money in an event of any political unrest. In 2013 amid an inflation crisis in Argentina, Bitcoin was used to safely store their money away from the government.
As with all new technologies there will always be many who will be skeptical to trust blockchain, especially when it comes to their sensitive data and money, but if governments work with financial industries and other organizations attempting to set up blockchain networks, they can give it credibility and ease many of the concerns they may have. If this is done right blockchains can connect people securely around the world and provide a lifeline for many others, people may question the validity of Bitcoin, but that should not stop us from using this wonderful new technology.