What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a distributed record of events or transactions (often referred to as a distributed database or ledger) that is tamper-resistant, tamper-evident and cryptographically secure.

A blockchain allows untrusted parties to reach consensus on a shared digital history, without a middleman or trusted third party. When multiple, consistent and independent copies of the record exist it is harder to falsify, and the record is resistant to system failure, as there is no single point of failure.

Some examples of blockchain include:

  • Provenance chains: blockchain can support ownership claims for high-value assets such as jewellery and art, origin claims for food (certified organic or fair trade) and wine
  • Financial services
  • Voting/democracy: infrastructure for casting, tracking and counting votes
  • Internet identification
  • Critical infrastructure security
  • Real estate: recording, tracking and transferring land titles, property deeds, liens
  • Executable contracts: contracts in a blockchain that contain software code that automatically executes when a contract condition is met
  • Secure storage of personal data
  • Energy management: enabling decentralised energy generation, sharing and payment amongst a community without requiring trust.