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Posted by on May 8, 2019 in Featured |

Blockchain May Soon Be Everywhere

By Judy Davies, Vice President of Global Marketing Communications, Advantest

Just as disruptive integrated circuit (IC) technologies have been invented, evolved, tested and secured adoption for widespread use, the same is true for innovative applications – such as blockchain. Conceived in 2008, blockchain is gaining momentum as a means of enabling the secure distribution of data for digital transactions. The technology, which has its roots in cryptocurrency, is appealing to businesses for two key attributes: it serves as a decentralized ledger, and it protects any entered data from being modified. Because it can be used to record transactions between parties efficiently, permanently and verifiably, the technology may become a key asset in combatting identity theft and online fraud.

Blockchain has the potential to streamline and safeguard digital business operations for companies of all sizes, from large chains to small online startups. In one of its more unique applications, blockchain is being used to certify the authenticity and history of natural diamonds, enabling buyers to distinguish the real thing from synthetic gems and fake stones. This could prove hugely valuable in helping eliminate support of blood diamonds or ensuring an engagement ring’s gems are the real thing.

Another application is a blockchain ledger, which can extend “smart” connected technology beyond phones, appliances and cars to include stock certificates, property deeds, insurance policies and other important documents. By maintaining the papers’ current ownership records, blockchain can become, in essence, a “smart key,” allows access to the permitted person(s) alone. Government, health care, finance and other fields that rely on unbreachable documentation could be transformed by this capability.

Verifying the path from farm to table to help ensure food safety is another potential use for blockchain. For example, by keeping a registry of the specific field or section from which a head of lettuce was harvested, blockchain may help to quickly pinpoint the sources of dangerously tainted foodstuffs. This will keep consumers safer from illness, as well as prevent unnecessary disposal of uncontaminated food. And if you sometimes wonder whether your produce really is organic or your turkey free-range, this technology can assure you of your food’s integrity.

While hacking is a fear with any networked technology, blockchain may actually prove to be the most impervious to being hacked. Instead of utilizing a central data storehouse, all information on a blockchain is decentralized, encrypted and cross-checked by the entire network. With this distributed design, there is no third-party data center for transactions. Each user’s computer, or node, has a complete copy of the ledger, so even if one or two nodes is lost, system-wide data loss is not a risk. Moreover, using encryption means that file signatures can be verified across all ledgers, on all networked nodes, to ensure they haven’t been altered. If any unauthorized change is made, the traced signature is invalidated.

Blockchain’s design also allows data tracking with validity that can be easily confirmed. Its transparency offers a welcome alternative to the way that much of our personal, online information has been dissected and manipulated for financial gain by some well-known technology behemoths. With its nearly unlimited breadth of applications, blockchain technology looks well-positioned to make the leap from managing digital currencies to becoming the next-generation solution for our online personal and work lives.