This single technology could revolutionize banking and the internet

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Bitcoin and most other digital currencies rely on something called a blockchain to operate, and while the technology has become more or less synonymous with Bitcoin, the Blockchain’s potential uses extend far beyond digital currencies. The finance industry stands to be the most-affected by the rise of the Blockchain, which is why banks from across the globe have been pouring money into developing it, to the point where more funding was put into blockchain research this year than any other emerging technology. Not only does it have the potential to make the transfer of money infinitely faster and more affordable, it could bring an unprecedented level of trust to online dealing.

The internet is just a pipe, and any attempt at real security is merely a sticking plaster that’s doomed to get hacked, somehow, by someone, at some point. Cue the Blockchain, a tech that proves ownership in an indisputable way. Said to be as powerful a catalyst for creativity as Internet Protocol, Blockchain-led innovations are likely to begin in the world of financial services, but could extend far beyond – its full potential is now only just starting to be understood. “[It could] bring a whole new dimension of trust to the internet,” says Richard Moulds, VP Strategy, Thales e-Security, “such that it can become a transactional platform between people and things, and not just the pipe that connects them.” No wonder, then, that Blockchain accounts for the largest spend on emerging technologies this year – almost $1 billion. And you thought it was just a Bitcoin enabler. “Blockchain is designed to make transactions fraud-proof,” says Ajay Vij, Vice President and Head of Financial Services for Europe at global IT consultancy Infosys. “It takes the form of a distributed database against which anyone can verify the validity of transactions held within it.”

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