Tag Archives: transactions

Blockchain – Breaking It Down

The hottest word in technology is blockchain. Whether you have heard of  it or not you will be affected by it, now or in the future. But what is it?  How will it change things?

What is Blockchain?

A block is a record or log of new transactions. This log can track things like the the creation of cryptocurrency, changes to medical records, product manufacturing from start to finish or banking transactions. After each block is completed it’s added to the chain, creating a chain of blocks, hence a blockchain.

Information on the blockchain is also available to everyone. A block chain is not hosted on a single computer or server. Because of this any changes or transactions are immediately visible to everyone. So, as you can see a blockchain is very hard to falsify because everybody can see the changes and immediately notice if something is wrong or fraudulent. Blockchains are simply a public ledger that makes everything  traceable.

Blockchain was invented in 2008 to support transactions using digital currency. If you buy something using a cryptocurrency, send some to a another person or sell it, your transaction is publicly visible on the blockchain. Other people may not know who you are but they can see exactly how much has been transferred from one person to another.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin are growing as an alternative to traditional banking. Users do not need a bank to move money from one location to another or to verify the transaction. This is sometimes referred to as frictionless transactions. This means a transaction can be completed without a paying a fee to a bank or government.

How is Blockchain being used?

Although blockchain is not yet in widespread use it is expected to change industry and commerce in a revolutionary way. It is considered a disruptive technology that can easily turn the economy and society upside down. As such, it is being carefully examined and introduced.

Blockchain and your vote.

Blockchain technology can can make electronic vote counting un-hackable. Voter fraud can be eliminated by securing the system during voter registration. Blockchain can secure voter’s identification and prevent vote tampering. Blockchain creates a permanent and public ledger of votes cast and tallied that provides for more fair, secure and democratic elections around the world.

Follow My Vote is one new start up company that is trying to apply blockchain to our voting systems.

Blockchain and your identity.

Blockchain is expected to make major difference in securing your digital identity. Right now billions of dollars are being lost due to online fraud and identity theft. Using blockchain technologies will make tracking and managing digital identities secure and efficient. The result will mean a seamless sign-on and reduced fraud. This is vitally important when it comes to banking, healthcare, national security, citizenship documentation and e-commerce. 

Currently password based systems rule the Internet. Blockchain technology is based on identity verification using  public key cryptographyUsing blockchain identity authentication the only question is if the person has the correct private key. It is understood the key holder is the owner and the exact identity of the owner is irrelevant. The only drawback to this system is, as always, the human factor. People share passwords they may begin sharing encryption keys.

Blockchain identity verification can allow you to securely apply for jobs, file for medical and other various benefits, remotely open bank accounts, verify emails and social media activity and, as mentioned earlier, secure voting.

Blockchain for business.

Blockchain has the ability to make sure corporations are playing by the rules. Records stored using blockchain suddenly become difficult, if not impossible, to alter.This factor means that contracts between people or between corporations are far less open to interpretation of manipulation. These are know as smart contracts.

Smart contracts are legally binding, programmable digitized contracts entered on the blockchain. Programmers can create legal contracts as variables and statements that can release funds using the bitcoin network.

An example would be if one company wanted to pay another company a million dollars at a specific time when the preconditions of the contract are met. The conditions, payout, and details would be programmed into a smart contract. Once all conditions are satisfied the money would be sent to the appropriate party as terms of the contract dictates. Computer control over contracts can increase business efficiency and make the legal system more equitable.

Blockchain is coming to a grocer near you.

Companies in the agriculture industry are using blockchain  to track the movement of produce through the supply chain. This means the farmer can track his bell peppers from the time they leave the field to the time you leave the grocery store with them. Blockchain creates a direct link from the farmer to the grocer ensuring they are paid fairly for their produce and allowing grocers to verify that they are getting what they’ve paid for. Blockchain use in agriculture means you know exactly where your food came from and who handled it. Keep in mind food fraud is growing problem. Is that fruit really organic? Is that fish really sea bass or is this olive oil really olive oil? Blockchain makes sure you get what you think you are getting and paying for.

This technology can also increase food safety and security. Blockchain brings transparency to the supply chain allowing retailers, farmers and consumers to identify and remove bad actors and poor processes. Blockchain can determine the source of food born illnesses quickly in the event of a illness outbreak saving time, money, and lives.

Blockchain and transportation.

Another way blockchain will affect your life is transportation. Car makers are using blockchain to make sure the parts that go into your car meet their standards and come from a legitimate source. Counterfeit parts are a big problem on the secondary parts market. These parts could possibly end up in busses, trains and even aircraft endangering millions of lives. Parts can now be tracked from the manufacturer to the user eliminating any possible counterfeiting.

Now you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cops Offer Safe Zones for Internet Transactions

Safe TransactionOne of the beautiful things about the Internet is the ability for people to buy and sell from one another.  However the Internet also can bring you in contact with some pretty bad characters who have no intention of conducting an honest transaction.

There have been many stories in the news of people robbed, assualted and even murdered as a result of meeting with people from person-to-person websites like Craigslist.

As a result of the rise in crime of this nature police and sheriff’s departments nationwide are creating areas at their stations for people to complete transactions that began online. These areas are known as Safe Zones or Safe Havens.

Although this trend started several years ago the idea has caught on.  As many as 70 police agencies stretching from Boca Raton, Florida to Bedford, Texas, have created safe transaction zones. They are usually in parking lots or lobbies according to websites that track the programs. Safe havens located inside buildings are normally open only during office hours and no reservations are required. Parking lots are usually available 24/7.

Because these areas are literally inside the police station or on police property and under surveillance theives are detered from committing crimes. The program does have its skeptics who believe the police accept some liability  if a transction goes wrong. But many police departments said they felt obligated to do something as a result of crimes carried out as part of an online transaction.

According to a report by the AIM Group, a classified-ad consultancy, 87 killings were tied to Craigslist interactions in the U.S. since 2007, including 22 last year and six so far in 2015.

Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist’s chief executive accuses AIM of unjustly portraying the website as fraught with risk for criminal activity. AIM has done studies of crime connected to Craigslist by its competitors.

Craigslist does offer an advisory on its “Personal Safety” page that reads: “With billions of human interactions facilitated, the incidence of violent crime is extremely low.” Among several precautions the company suggests is to “consider making high-value exchanges at your local police station.”

Where the service is available people seem to aprove. Atlanta Craigslist user Derek Lee said news reports of people getting murdered after connecting online caused him to complete his transactions at a police station.

That “is your ultimate safety zone,” he said. “It’s not just personal safety. I think people are less likely to rip each other off, like selling a bogus product or counterfeit product.”

Law-enforcement officials said it is too early to determine whether the zones are reducing crime, but some contend initial results are promising.

Now you know