You’ve probably heard about blockchain mostly, if not exclusively, in the context of cryptocurrency (e.g., Bitcoin). But blockchain technology also has exciting applications in industries beyond finance. In this post, I’ll talk about two areas where blockchain is just beginning to be applied — food supply chain tracking, and international aid.
The general definition associated with decentralized applications (DApps) is an application that functions through a peer-to-peer network as opposed to a single source or computer. The existence of such an app in cyberspace does not depend on a single authority. It can operate under a blockchain network or any other form of the peer-to-peer system (read more about blockchain here). Moreover, it is important to understand that the definition of these applications can differ with respect to the institution. The notion of blockchain originates from the concept adapted by bitcoin which uses cryptographically-stored records. There are limited tokens in the system as a means of checking the value of the currency. Different DApps exist for different purposes but the key property of the application is the independence from a traditional single server database.
In an attempt to understand the technical side of the cryptocurrency craze, I read the book, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies (http://bitcoinbook.cs.princeton.educeton.edu). It was a great book and I’d highly recommend it. What follows is somewhat of a book report on the beginning chapters, a look under the hood at what a blockchain is.