Blockchain innovation beyond cryptocurrency: A look at the future

Published November 14, 2018   |   

Everyone in the media has been discussing how crazy the past year has been for cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Many commentators declared they were a passing fad as soon as the value dropped. However, these pundits don’t seem to realize that the underlying blockchain technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

Developers in over 100 different nations are working on new blockchain modules that can automate important tasks. Parsing big data will never fall out of style. Which means that blockchain innovation will have a home regardless of what happens to the cryptocurrency market. Don’t count alternative virtual currencies out yet either. Advanced blockchain technology might also help them rebound in the next few years.

eCommerce Firms Adopt Cryptographic Record Lists

A majority of developers associate private blockchain ledgers with financial transactions. This was of course the original application of the technology. But there’s no reason that it can’t be applied to any data structure that needs to include sorted records. A number of top eCommerce companies as well as small online businesses are rewriting blockchain code.

They hope to use the technology as part of a document storage and retrieval system. Some members of the eCommerce industry say that it’s a combination of Google Docs, BitTorrent and VPNs. It’s highly secure and accurate. In fact, a few international authorities are now allowing attorneys to use blockchain verification credentials as evidence in court.

Using an open distributed ledger as a method of recording transactions is nothing new. Cryptographic trees that contain a series of individual quanta of records stored in hashed functions were the original basis of Bitcoin. What’s new is the methodology followed. It’s so secure by design that it can be applied to sensitive storage and retrieval operations. Blockchain ledgers don’t need to be fortified by any trusted outside authority.

This has paved the way for companies to put together their own impregnable networks. Even if they’ve never invested in cryptocurrencies before. Surprisingly, a good deal of this kind of innovation is free for anyone to use due to permissive licensing agreements.

Open-Source Blockchain Technology

Hyperledger is a collaborative effort to research new uses for blockchain-based distributed ledgers. Developers working on this project come from a wide array of different industries. Legislative changes might have caused formal research into cryptocurrency speculation to go by the wayside. However, engineers working with the project have been finding ways to utilize tokens that don’t violate any new laws. You’ll find all of the work published under the Linux Foundation’s GPL-based brand style guide. And is freely available for anyone to read and reproduce.

One major breakthrough has come in the form of tokenizing transactional databases. Conventional storage arrays use hashes stored in a dynamic-link library that are locally decoded. Blockchain tokens enable any client user to decode a hash and modify records. This technique is helping to migrate locally-stored databases to the cloud.

Engineers have largely been focused on how to apply it without ruffling any feathers. An Ethereum virtual game has served as a test-bed for some time now. But new research is looking into more practical applications for tokenized data. Some have also begun to put together white label bitcoin exchange sites. Which use a core and backend that’s put together from ready-made licensed components. These sites are more reliable than purely open-source ones.

New Cryptographic Technologies on the Horizon

Algorithms used in cryptology have remained somewhat stagnant for a number of years. Despite technicians advising people to stop using programming languages based on the CRC and MD5 standards. These codes are still used in the private sector. Successful collision attacks have been made against SHA-1 hashes. Which means that even those once thought to be secure might not be.

Programmers working on blockchain hashes have come up with a solution. Their own new collision-proof libraries that don’t rely on these dated technologies. Industries that aren’t keen on using backends or putting money in the crypto markets can still adopt these innovative cryptographic algorithms. Experts predict that they’ll be found in everything from web certificates to checksum digests.

It’s easy to imagine blockchain technology taking off no matter what happens to the world of cryptocurrencies. Innovations that aren’t even thought of yet might soon be spun-off to become their own class of new technologies. Computer scientists will continue to monitor the situation regardless of what anyone writes about the daily value of Bitcoin or Ethereum.