Debunking The Myths About Blockchain

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When something as revolutionary as blockchain comes to the scene, it is inevitable that myths will arise. The system itself is extremely new, and because of how sophisticated it is, many people fear it.

They worry that if blockchain were to take hold, many unfortunate events would take place and it would corrupt and destroy society, as opposed to advance society. Naturally, any major revolution comes with a significant settling in period.

Remember how the internet had many myths about how it would be used, and people even denied the fact that it would have such a great impact on society? Nowadays, the internet is a major driving force in society and virtually everyone is online in one way or another.

Businesses, banks, government, and many other major social groups are involved in using the internet. This could be the same for blockchain. It is important to educate yourself on the myths associated with new revolutions like this.

Understanding these myths and being able to depict them enables you to know the truth about blockchain and develop a more educated stance on how you feel about the program.

It also assists you in further educating the general public, to assist everyone in realizing how powerful and revolutionary this system truly is. The more people are educated about blockchain, the more they will realize how incredible it could be for them.

Businesses, banks, governments, and individuals can all be positively impacted by this futuristic and sophisticated program. As people realize how life-changing this system can be in a good way, they will realize that life with blockchain could be improved significantly.

The more support is invested in such a program, the easier it is for the program to be finalized and implemented into society. There are many major myths around blockchain. People fail to realize exactly what this program is, and therefore they struggle to see exactly how powerful it can be.

Alternatively, they do understand how incredible blockchain is, but fail to understand exactly what it is, and furthermore, what it isn’t. This chapter is going to work to completely eliminate any myths and misconceptions you may have heard or read about blockchain and help you understand it better. Many people, for example, believe that blockchain is only important to geeks and that no one else should be interested in blockchain.

The idea that blockchain can have any type of impact on general society is often rejected by most people. Although this was true at one time, it is no longer true. Blockchain is no longer a technology that is only beneficial for computing experts. As more people talk about it and learn about it, blockchain’s opportunities are expanding and everyday people are beginning to realize how revolutionary and fascinating this program is.

They are beginning to realize that it holds an incredible ability to have a major impact on society and that it can be used in many more ways than just by computer geeks.

The more that blockchain is talked about and the opportunities of it are ex-plored, the more experts are trying to make this program more popularized and easily accessible to people. Although the backend may be complex, the idea is that eventually, it will have user-friendly interactions that can be used by just about anyone.

Many people believe that, just like the internet and smartphones evolved, blockchain will continue to evolve as well. Although we already have many major dreams around what blockchain will do for society, it is likely that it will do much more than just these things. Eventually, we will see that blockchain can be used for an incredible number of different things that we never even realized it could be used for.

Because of the unfriendly interfaces associated with blockchain and the fact that it was difficult for everyday people to comprehend, it was once a system that was only used by geeks and people who could understand code and other complex technology communications. This has completely changed since people have started to learn about how they can use it and ways that it can be applied for greater functions.

Think about the internet itself, although not everyone is clear on how it works and everything that goes on in the backend of the internet, virtually everyone knows how to surf the internet in one way or another.

They are aware of how the internet can be used and although they may not be able to perform complex functions using the internet, they can certainly use it in their everyday lives. As time carries on, even the more complex functions such as coding and website building are becoming more accessible for average people, and everything continues to evolve.

The same could be completely true for blockchain. The more the general public shows an interest in these systems, the more blockchain is going to evolve. While blockchain is still very far from being accessible and user-friendly, the point is that it is slowly moving in that direction.

The intention is that eventually, blockchain will be able to be used by virtually everyone. Ideally, you won’t need to know anything about the blockchain system itself, you will only need to know how to interact with the user-friendly interfaces.

Already, startup companies are starting to develop these friendly interfaces that are intended to make using blockchain as simple as logging into your email account. Another myth about blockchain is that it is similar to cloud storage. This is completely untrue.

Blockchain is incapable of storing any physical information like you would see with a pdf file or a word document. The blockchain system is not a storage system like the cloud. Instead, it is a system that provides a “proof-of- existence.” This means that the system can prove a document exists, but it cannot regurgitate the document itself. However, they have developed what they call “data lakes” which allow for these documents to be stored, and the owner of the information is the one who controls how it can be accessed by others.

There are many reasons why this would be beneficial for people who are seeking to use the blockchain technology for their programs. Let’s think about a college degree for example. If a school were to use blockchain technologies for their degrees, each degree would be logged into the computer using blockchain technology.

Each degree would then be provided with its own code, which is called a “hash”. Later, when a person with a degree wanted to apply for jobs, they would be able to prove the existence of the degree by providing the company with the hash.

Then, if the company wanted to access the degree to look it over, they would be able to contact the employee that owns the degree and require access to it. This means that there is still a high amount of security around personal information and the information within’ documents.

However, it also assists in proving that they do exist, which provides a great deal of importance. Something many people think about blockchain is that it is only usable by those who are in the financial sector. The initial application of blockchain was bitcoin, and therefore people think that the entire system is built around cryptocurrencies and finances.

Although it does have a major impact on this sector, it also has the ability to have an impact in many other places, as well. As you learned in the previous chapter, however, blockchain has the ability to have a significant impact in many other places in society, as well.

Real estate, healthcare, and digital identities can all be impacted by blockchain. Using this system, there can be a significant amount of information stored on the internet that could then be accessed, with permission.

Blockchain has a major impact and ability to make a change in the financial sector of society, but it also has the ability to make a major impact on other areas of society as well.

Although it is mainly being explored for its ability to assist the financial industry, it is now starting to be researched for its ability to assist in other industries as well.

As the program becomes more understood and its abilities become more understood, an increasing amount of industries are becoming interested in how it can have a major impact on their own industry.

Eventually, blockchain could have a firm root in every industry and the way that each industry is operated. Many people believe that blockchain and bitcoin are tightly related and that you can’t have one without the other.

This is because, as you already know, blockchain was discovered as a result of the development of bitcoin. Blockchain is the underlying technology of bitcoin, and it has been completely separated from bitcoin to become a standalone program.

The separation between the two is what has made blockchain so interesting and has given the opportunity for blockchain to grow so rapidly. Blockchain is a separate program that can be used to record peer-to-peer transactions that then hold a proven existence on a distributed ledger across the blockchain network.

Each transaction is stored in its own block, and each block is linked to the block that came before it, creating a chain of blocks. It is this type of interaction that has created the name blockchain.

When something is recorded into blockchain, it is permanent and the information is transparent. The transaction cannot be changed nor removed from the ledger, so it is stored forever in the blockchain system. When using blockchain cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, peers can process electronic transactions between them without the requirement of a third-party such as a bank.

These currencies are stored in a virtual wallet, and there is no control over the cryptocurrency since there are no third-parties involved. That is why the total number of bitcoins ever to be released are completely limited and defined by a mathematical algorithm.

At this point, the number has been almost reached, at around 21 million. Based on the complexity of the blockchain development, many people believe that it is only important for business to business (B2B) transactions and interactions. This is a complete myth, however, because the developers are working hard to ensure that the program is easily accessible to everyone in any location.

The ultimate goal is to make blockchain as accessible as the internet is. Although this isn’t predicted to happen anytime in the near future, it is certainly expected to happen at some point. Since blockchain only relies on the presence of internet in order for it to be functional, you can understand that people worldwide will easily be able to facilitate interactions with one another through blockchain, regardless of distances and borders.

Small businesses will be able to effortlessly sell their products on the global market and will not be forced to pay processing or commission fees in order to do so. The entire profit will be presented back to the small business itself. One way that this has a major impact is on developing countries. Many of these individuals do not have the ability to create bank accounts due to the lack of appropriate identification means.

Because of this, they struggle to create feasible businesses because they do not have a bank to back them up or make it possible for them to receive electronic payments. Once banks are obsolete, though, and everything is decentralized, these individuals will have a fair chance at selling and buying without the need for the bank's third-party agreement.

The only thing that would decide whether the transaction would take place or not would be whether or not you want to purchase the item. This would give individuals a greater opportunity to start their own businesses and would give other individuals a greater opportunity to purchase anything they want from anyone that they want to.

Many people believe that Ethereum, previously talked about in this book, is a blockchain itself. The truth is, it is not at all. Instead, Ethereum is a platform that has been used to distribute applications that are decentralized on the blockchain technology. Basically, instead of having many applications managed by many blockchain protocols, Ethereum allows for all of the applications to be managed by one protocol.

Ethereum is not a blockchain itself, but instead, it is a program that allows developers to be able to create any program they want and run it on the basic characteristics of blockchain technology. Ethereum applications all use smart contracts to execute their actions automatically, using predetermined conditions are built into the algorithm at the time of development. Whenever the conditions are met, the predetermined function will be completed automatically, without the need of the developer taking any action. This makes the applications transparent and releases the ability for anyone to alter the application or the smart contracts without the appropriate permissions to do so.

Often privacy is a major issue when people are attempting to understand what blockchain is. The idea that the ledger itself is public leads people to believe that all of their information is made publicly available as well. This is false, as blockchain is well known for its ability to create transparency while also maintaining anonymity for all parties involved. As previously discussed, it is one of the most secure programs available.

When the distributed ledger is made public, the only information that is publicized is the amount of the transaction and a hash or the unique code attached to that specific transaction. The hash for the said transaction is created when people submit the transaction and then it is run through one-way cryptographic function which gives a hash to the transaction. It is impossible for any information to be accessed with only the hash; instead, you need to require access to it by the owner of the information.

All that is public is that the transaction took place and the amount it took place for. All details pertaining to the transaction are kept a secret. People think that because of this publicized information, they will no longer be protected and their personal information would be discoverable by others. The reality is that modern banks have more information about us than blockchain would ever be able to.

Banks themselves are able to identify where we spend our money, how much, and when it is spent. On blockchain, these details are all secured and hidden and no one can access them without the permission of the owner of the information. Therefore, this information would be actually more secure than it is already.

Blockchain is an excellent program that has the ability to make the most basic important information public, and then make the rest private. It is more secure than systems that already exist, and therefore you would be safer to use it than you would be using existing programs. Because of this, people who fear identity theft or sensitive information being leaked should realize that blockchain does not have the capacity to facilitate anything like this.

Blockchain is merely a distributed ledger that has the most basic information about the transactions of physical and non-physical property, everything else is kept sensitive just as you would like it to be. Many people believed that blockchain was just a buzzword and not a real thing.

They believed that blockchain was something being talked about just for popularity, and that it didn’t actually pack a punch. As though the program was not real and had no real ability to become anything serious. The reality is that in quarter 1 of 2016, the total investments in blockchain and bitcoin startups exceeded $1.1 billion.

This system is very real and the blockchain revolution is something that we should be prepared to experience. The number of people investing in blockchain is rapidly growing, and with it comes a significant amount of hope. Blockchain brings about the opportunity for more trust and transparency. It also brings about a much-needed level of privacy that transcends across all interactions, worldwide.

Blockchain has the opportunity to have a massive impact on many industries, from making it easier to track medicines in the health care industry to helping secure clinical trials and create a safer and more secure outline for everyone in the medical community. They could also assist in reducing poverty levels and bringing more people into the workforce by making it easier for people to enter the economy and not feel isolated when they are not backed by a bank.

There are many aspects of blockchain that make it a promising and favorable program to be used by all. However, it is imperative that this program is not rushed. Society needs to take time adjusting to the technology and how it can actually serve everyone across various industries and on a personal level.

By truly settling into the program, they gain the ability to strategize legal framework as each element becomes more apparent, and ensure that it integrates into everyday society in a way that is beneficial to all. Then, once it is properly integrated, it will have the ability to have an excellent and positive impact on society, instead of a potentially rocky and devastating one.

At this time, smart contracts do not have the same legal bindings as standard contracts, and it is important to recognize as much. Although they carry the same name, they are not from the same playing field.

Legal contracts continue to be the standard contracts we use in society today, and using a smart contract will not hold up in the court of law to protect either party involved. Instead, smart contracts are currently a specific set of codes that are used to automatically execute actions upon a set of conditions being met. They are not considered to be anywhere near standard contracts from a legal angle, and therefore., they cannot protect anyone involved on either side of the contract.

It is important to still have standard contracts in place to ensure that everyone involved in the transaction is protected. Smart contracts are valuable for one thing, however: they are excellent for being used as a measure to proof of whether or not tasks have been accomplished. Although smart contracts don’t have a high legal value, they are still known to be extremely powerful tools when they are combined with the internet-of-things.

There is a long way for everything to go, but clearly, everything is working steadily in the right direction. It is uncertain as to whether smart contracts will ever have a major legal value, but the intention is that they will eventually be able to be used in place of legal contracts and that they will hold up in a court of law. Or, at the very least, they will be part of the standard contract.

Another thing that people may not realize is that blockchain doesn’t necessarily have to be all public. There are actually three different ranks of blockchain: public, consortium, and private. Public blockchains are the ones that are primarily recognized as a part of blockchain.

They are the blockchains that are viewable by anyone, and any transaction completed on a public blockchain will be visible to anyone who cares to take the time to search. Consortium blockchains are a variation of blockchain that does not enable everyone to be a part of the consensus process. There are only a limited number of nodes that are eligible to host consortium blockchains, and all or most have to be in agreeance for something to be considered a legible change.

There are two ways that the access can be delegated: public or restricted only to those who are participating in the ledger. Private blockchains are ones that are used within’ a company or organization. Only predetermined members have access to the blockchain and of those members, only some are eligible to be able to carry out transactions. These transactions are not visible to the public and can be kept private from others.

Despite there being three different forms of blockchain, only the public form of blockchain carries the largest capacity for disrupting society. For that reason, this is the one that is being most researched and looked into. People are searching for ways to make this program legible and to ensure that it can be used without causing more disruption than it needs to. Ultimately, the goal is to have as smooth of integration as possible. Many people believe that because blockchain can add such a great value to health care and because it is so secured that it has no ability to disrupt health care. The reality is that it actually can.

There are two types of people in the industry right now: those who believe blockchain will save the health system and those who believe it will destroy it. The reality is that neither of these parties is right, but they aren’t wrong, either. The majority of the truth depends on what the chosen application would be. If people are considering medical identity, blockchain provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to have their medical records stored and certain health care professionals can access them with the appropriate permissions.

In this circumstance, these could be accessed from anywhere in the world, and you would be protected anywhere you go as a result. The only way the records could be accessed is if the person attempting to access them met the appropriate conditions to do so.

At this time, the medical field is run in a very disorganized way. When people attend medical facilities, they often don’t carry their medical records with them. It can be difficult to discover them in the system, and therefore their medical history can be a mystery to the doctors who are working with them.

As a result, many times tests are repeated in order to regain the information. If anything were to happen in the future, the tests may need to be repeated once again. There is virtually no way to secure them and ensure that they follow the person anywhere they go and can be accessed whenever they need them.

If blockchain technology was used instead, patients could simply wear a bracelet and have it scanned. Then, their entire medical history and records would be accessible. This would lead to quicker patient treatment, and more accurate treatments as well. Doctors would have a thorough his- tory and would be able to consider everything as a part of the diagnosis, instead of having to guess based on what symptoms they are told. In the United States, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the entire country.

Having a more secure and efficient method of storing someone’s medical profile would make it significantly easier for accurate treatment and would greatly reduce the likelihood of mistreatment or misdiagnosis. Something to consider, however, is that if medical systems were to implement this new system into their practices, they would have to completely abandon their existing method of recording information.

Since the providers have invested heavily into their existing methods, it would be extremely expensive to completely abandon it and head in an entirely new direction. Despite this, however, there is still hope that the system will be improved by blockchain in one way or another. For example, at this time, blockchain is an excellent source for tracking drugs. There are many startups that are using the blockchain programs to develop a ledger that tracks all of the drugs being produced in trustworthy labs.

Everyone who is involved in the process of supplying and purchasing drugs has the ability to trace the drug to determine whether or not it is actually the drug they intended to purchase or administer. The idea is to stop drugs from being counterfeited and ensure that all drugs are accounted for.

Just because blockchain cannot be used a specific area of health care does not mean it is incapable of disrupting the health care industries. Many areas of the industry are already benefiting greatly from blockchain, and it is expected that in the future the remaining areas will, too.

However, the blockchain industry is taking baby steps to ensure that when the time comes that they are able to disrupt the remaining structures, it is capable of doing so and has the capacity to do it with minimal disruption possible.

Debunking The Myths About Blockchain was originally published in The Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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