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  • If you're a modern criminal, chances are you've used it to buy guns, drugs and even launder money.

  • Sounds dodgy.

  • But high profile institutions such as USAID and UNICEF have a different view.

  • They think it could be a force for good, helping the poorest people in the world.

  • What is blockchain?

  • It's a technology called blockchain - a global online database that anyone, anywhere with an internet connection can use.

  • Unlike traditional databases, which are owned by central figures like banks and governments, a blockchain doesn't belong to anyone.

  • And with an entire network looking after it, cheating the system by faking documents, transactions and other information becomes near impossible.

  • Here's how it works.

  • Blockchains store information permanently across a network of personal computers.

  • This not only decentralizes the information, but distributes it too.

  • So how can a multi-purpose online database, whose users include criminals, work for everyday use?

  • How does it stay relatively hack-proof?

  • The answer is blockchain's millions of users.

  • They make it difficult for any one person to take down the network or corrupt it.

  • The many people who run the system use their own personal computers to hold bundles of records submitted by others.

  • The records are known as blocks.

  • Each block has a timestamp and a link to a previous block, forming a chronological chain.

  • It's like a giant Google doc with one key difference.

  • You can view it and add to it, but you can't change the information that's already there.

  • The blockchain enforces this by using a form of math called cryptography, which means records can't be counterfeited or altered by someone else.

  • Blockchain's most famous application is Bitcoin.

  • It's a digital currency that is created and held electronically - and you can send it to anyone, whether you know them or not.

  • Bitcoin provides a level of anonymity not seen in modern times.

  • That's because unlike credit cards or PayPal payments, there are no middlemen such as banks or financial institutions asking for our personal information and home address.

  • Instead people from all over the world move the digital money by validating other people's Bitcoin transactions, earning a small fee in the process.

  • Where the blockchain comes in is verifying the ownership of this digital cash and making sure only one person is claiming it as their own at a time.

  • Banks and businesses are rushing to adopt blockchain database technology.

  • In a survey of 308 senior executives at U.S. companies with $500 million or more in annual revenue, Deloitte found that 28 percent of respondents had invested $5 million or more in blockchain technology.

  • 10 percent had invested $10 million or more.

  • But why are they spending so much money?

  • Well, to save money of course.

  • When this study looked into the data of eight of the world's largest investment banks, it found that blockchain could save them $8 to $12 billion dollars every year.

  • Bet that $5 million investment doesn't sound so bad now.

  • But it's not all good news for the big players, of course.

  • Blockchain lowers the barrier for entry into the banking industry, and that means fintech startups are popping up in pretty much every market they operate in.

  • If banks and companies can't keep up, they're putting their own survival at risk.

  • For the consumer, the future seems brighter with more security, less cost and better experiences.

  • Yet, blockchain could be the biggest game changer for the poorest in society.

  • The technology is open to people living in low income countries or fragile states at risk of economic collapse.

  • Take a farmer with a small plot of land which is then flooded.

  • The paper copy of the deeds to his land is washed away, resulting in the farmer having no proof of owning the land.

  • Or perhaps he does have a digital copy on a government database but it is erased, altered or even destroyed in a political coup.

  • If the farmer had filed that deed on a blockchain, he could have avoided all these problems.

  • Along with speeding up the flow of cash and providing a secure place to keep records - the benefits for the poorest in society are enormous.

  • From protecting our identities to running autonomous vehicles to managing a world that is increasingly dependent on the internet of things, the possibilities for blockchain technology seem endless.

  • But whether it lives up to its promise remains to be seen.

If you're a modern criminal, chances are you've used it to buy guns, drugs and even launder money.

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ブロックチェーンとは?| CNBCが解説 (What is Blockchain? | CNBC Explains)

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    TG に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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