Blockchain is the new buzzword.
As enigmatic as it sounds, it is a reasonably simple concept: a blockchain is just another way to record transactions.
It is a public database of all transactions made among all the parties participating in a particular network – in other words, a public ledger.
Built into blockchain is the concept of public verification: it is revolutionary because it removes the need for an intermediary to verify the authenticity of participants and transactions and, depending on the rules of the particular blockchain, verification can happen in real time.
This can simplify the payments system and significantly speed up transactions.
The most well-known application of this type of technology is the digital currency bitcoin.
There are many bitcoin detractors who don’t believe in the ultimate success of bitcoin as an alternative currency but who are nonetheless excited about the potential of this technology to revolutionise other ledger-based processes.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is considering whether a blockchain solution could replace existing payment settlement infrastructure.
Other industries could also benefit from it.
The public sector could apply it to track and validate land and property transactions. The music industry could apply the technology to digital storage of music files, encrypting information, such as royalties to be paid, in each block.
We have no doubt that there are other uses yet to be conceived, which is what makes it doubly exciting. Blockchain is here and it’s revolutionary – and, what’s more, its possible applications are limited only by our collective imagination.
How can Australians access investment in such technology? Unfortunately, the pickings for investors are currently slim.
However, software company and future blockchain hopeful Kyckr is aiming to raise between $6 million and $8 million by floating between 30 million and 40 million shares at 20¢ each on the ASX this month. Retail investors can invest in the IPO through the OnMarket app.