The world’s biggest companies are now using blockchain to make their processes more efficient. But what is blockchain, and why is it such a powerful technology? Let’s dive in.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a technology for recording and confirming transactions, agreements, contracts, and anything else that needs to be independently verified.
It’s like an online database with added security layers that can potentially remove the need for banks or any centralised authority overseeing your data transmissions. The ‘chain’ itself is the sequence of entries in this database, each one bearing a cryptographic timestamp.
In simpler terms, blockchain is like an online ledger that records transactions (or anything else) in chronological order. When you record something on the blockchain, it can’t be changed – because other users on the network would immediately know about it and reject the change – so everything stored on the chain is verifiable and trustless.
This makes it a very secure way of carrying out transactions without the need for a central authority.
It’s important to understand that blockchain is not simply one technology, but rather can be applied in many ways. Some uses currently being developed include:
- Financial services (e.g. block chain currencies like Bitcoin)
- Health services (e.g. electronic medical records storage and transfer)
- Government (e.g. secure voting and public records management)
- Energy (e.g. smart grid storage and transfer of energy credits)
The applications of blockchain technology are limited only by the human imagination and willpower to develop it.
6 of the World’s Largest Companies Using Blockchain Technology
While the big names of the tech industry are all scrambling to get in on blockchain technology, some have already taken advantage of it. Here are 6 examples of hugely successful companies that use blockchain that you may not know about:
1. IBM (International Business Machines) / Hyperledger Fabric
The data-management company is one of the biggest names in the space. The company’s blockchain framework, called Hyperledger Fabric, is designed to make it easier for organisations to build their own networks for various purposes.
2. NVIDIA / NVIDIA DGX-1
A graphics card manufacturer that specialises in creating the hardware needed for processing large amounts of data? That sounds like a perfect fit to use blockchain technology, and NVIDIA certainly thinks so. The company has created its own open-source distributed ledger platform for processing AI (artificial intelligence) data called NVIDIA DGX SATURN V.
3. Merck & Co
One of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies is using blockchain to track vaccine supplies . This goes beyond simply tracking where their vaccines are; this system also tracks the temperature that the vaccines are stored at. That’s useful because if required vaccinations aren’t stored at the right temperature, they become useless – and administering them would make things worse, not better.
4. Microsoft / Various
Microsoft is already using blockchain for several processes, including its Azure cloud platform. The company has also partnered with Lufthansa Group to develop another blockchain application that tracks data about spare airplane parts .
5. Walmart / IBM Food Trust
One of the world’s biggest supermarket chains now uses blockchain technology to track food shipments across its system. Walmart is using IBM’s blockchain network, called Food Trust, to track food shipments along the entire supply chain . Every time a product moves, its status is updated on the ledger.
6. Amazon / Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB)
The online retail giant has stated that they are “very serious” about applying blockchain to their global cloud platform .
It’s worth noting that this isn’t an exhaustive list. These are just some big names among the companies using blockchain technology right now, so you should expect more to come in the future.
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