It seems that every week there is a conference somewhere about solving the world’s problems. And none of them are complete without some avant-garde revolutionary touting the wonders of the ‘blockchain’ as the ultimate solution – from solving world hunger, to eliminating the need for banks, to solving the world’s environmental crisis. And now, we’re hearing about blockchain in space. But is it the ultimate solution? And what is a blockchain anyway?
What do you envision when you read the word ‘blockchain’? A stack of brightly coloured Lego bricks? Young ‘crypto millionaires’ partying on a boat in Miami? Or do you see a genius little piece of computer code (maybe ‘Matrix’-style, green zeros and ones on a computer screen)?
Blockchain’s most famous application is Bitcoin, the crypto currency that has taken the world by storm, creating overnight millionaires, and then un-creating them just as quickly. Other types of crypto currencies have followed, each with a slightly different take on the concept. But while the world has been focused on the volatility and excitement of currencies, the computer code that underlies digital money is being put to use for other purposes.