Problems require solutions, solutions should not seek problems

The world has, over the last few years, become aware of blockchain. With the advent of blockchain, the underlying technology of Bitcoin - the first crypto-currency, many companies saw it as being a solution to all the problems that corporate IT faced. Unfortunately the technology is relatively narrow in its application and was a solution to a particular problem, that of a crypto-currency. This may lead to disappointment for some.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) which allows the removal of a so-called 'trust entity'. DLT is a ledger which is decentralised (or distributed). This means that the ledger sits on many servers, referred to as nodes, concurrently. Each node has the ability to make certain limited changes to the ledger. When changes are made they are verified and 'locked into' the ledger such that they are immutable (cannot be changed) by a cryptographic process called mining. Nodes can then check the integrity of the ledger (or chain) all the way back to the start. Working together the nodes all agree that a new block added to the chain is correct, a process known as 'consensus'. Once a new block, or ledger entry, has been made, mined and consensus achieved it is virtually impossible to change that block. (A simple explanation of what a blockchain is can be found here).

Blockchain, or DLT, solved the problems posed by a crypto-currency, however can also be used to hold other ledgers, such as who owns which security as in the ILS Blockchain Settlement System set up by Cedric Edmonds in 2017. There are various applications where blockchain can be an ideal and innovative solution, however many problems faced by corporate IT will likely be easier and better solved by using a centralised database solution.