Never Heard Of Blockchain Technology? Why You’ll Hear More About It

By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A blockchain is a digital network for transactions that eliminates the need for a middleman or central regulator like a bank or a government.

Detroit Free Press

Back before Detroit began to get its act together, the city’s property records were a mess. With thousands of parcels in the city vacant, abandoned, foreclosed and often subject to mortgage or title fraud, it could prove frustrating, if not impossible, to even discover who owned a property.

A new technology called blockchain, best known as the underlying architecture for the digital currency bitcoin, can solve problems like messy land titles, plus a lot more. Industries from banking to the automotive world have been taking notice.

Last week, General Motors and Ford joined BMW and Renault and other firms to create the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (or MOBI) to explore how this new technology could operate in the automotive world. Banks are also paying attention; so are many other industries.

But the technology for blockchain is so new (about 10 years old at this point) and so little understood by the public that it’s worthwhile to take a few moments to understand it. And so:

What is it?
A blockchain is a digital network for transactions that eliminates the need for a middleman or central regulator like a bank or a government. Parties to the network create records of their transactions that, once entered in the digital “ledger,” cannot be altered or changed without the approval of the broader network.

To use a simple example, say Mary lends John a sum of money. A year from now John plans to repay the loan, but disagrees with Mary on the amount. Each one kept a record of the loan but each disputes the other’s paperwork.

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