10 Things You Should Know about Blockchain

Posted January 25, 2017 By  Cynthia Harvey

If you read technology publications, blogs and analyst reports on a regular basis, you've undoubtedly come across some mentions of blockchain technology. Many experts say blockchain could revolutionize the way business is conducted. For example, James Wester, research director at IDC Financial Insights, said blockchain "represents a complete shift in the way electronic transactions have been handled for decades, and participants in the market should begin thinking about how they will adapt to it." And Microsoft predicts that blockchain "will fundamentally change the way we think about exchanging value and assets, enforcing contracts, and sharing data across industries."

Blockchain has made several analyst lists of the most promising new technologies, and some of the world's largest tech companies have announced either products based on blockchain technology or research projects to investigate its uses. And blockchain advocates say it could be just as transformative as the advent of the Internet.

Still, despite all that hype, it's sometimes difficult to find people who are actually using blockchain today. In fact, a lot of people who work in IT or the tech industry don't really understand what the technology is all about, how it works or why it has people so excited.

Perhaps that's part of the reason why Gartner placed blockchain near the top of the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" in its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2016. Similarly, IDC also referred to blockchain as "one of the most hyped topics in 2016."

All the conflicting opinions about blockchain can be confusing, to say the least. This slideshow attempts to cut through the clutter and provide an overview of what blockchain is and why could become important.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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