Bitcoin’s wild ride in the second half of 2017 served as its debut in most public forums, introduced and regularly discussed on evening news segments and at dinner tables around the world. As technologists, we cannot separate the concepts of cryptocurrencies of any brand, public or commercial, from the underlying blockchain infrastructure. And as enterprise problem-solvers and architects, we are faced with the analysis and recommendations on when blockchain capabilities are the right solution to interconnect your corporate network, your customer and supplier chains, or your commercial peers.
At the core of a blockchain is a linked, secured set of data records. Essential elements of a blockchain are that is extensible (you can add to a blockchain but not modify or take away), distributed and open to multiple participants (readers and writers) in any location. A blockchain is regularly referred to as a ‘distributed ledger’ that records transactions between parties in a manner that is permanently verifiable. The ability for a participant to add to the set of data records is determined through various consensus mechanisms, sometimes involving the other participants.