Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CIE News


What Is Blockchain?

by Nikki Kroushl on May 9, 2018

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Blockchain is a way to store digital information that allows it to be securely viewed and distributed--but not copied.

It was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto, and most of its recent applications have been with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But blockchain isn't just for Bitcoin: it's for virtually anything that could benefit from the use of secure, easily distributed, well-organized data. Blockchain isn't stored in any single location.

BlockGeeks likens it to Google Docs vs. a normal spreadsheet. To show a spreadsheet to multiple people or invite collaboration, you have to send a copy to a person, wait for them to view or make edits, and receive the file back from them. If you use Google Docs, however, you and your colleague can edit the same information at the same time. Blockchain is like the Google Docs of securing and sharing any form of data.

So while it's useful for cryptocurrency, it has applications in all kinds of industries. Banks and financial services could use it to handle customer transactions, contracts, loans or more. Blockchain could make crowdfunding or even voting more transparent and accessible, cutting out the middle man. It has potential applications in copyright law, file storage, Internet of Things, real estate, healthcare, education, and more.

"I heard someone make the comparison that blockchain in 2018 is like the Internet was in 1993," explains CIE Manager of Programs and Operations, Laura Brogdon-Primavera. "Nobody's an expert yet, and anybody who claims to be is lying. We really have no idea what it could be used for, but there's a ton of possibility."

Laura recently attended a Blockchain meetup hosted by tekMountain in preparation for a CIE-hosted event: the June 15 Blockchain Summit.

The Blockchain Summit will feature an invite-only breakfast and morning sessions, followed by a luncheon open to the public. The Summit's goal is to form a team to promote and build a Blockchain Community of Exploration and Discovery for southeastern North Carolina's economic development. It will also focus on finding ways to improve job skills in blockchain for government, private entities, and nonprofits in ways that align with local and state strategic plans for economic development.

Speakers will include DJ Everette and representatives from Governor Cooper's Office, QBRICS, NC TECH, the CIE, the D.C.-based Chamber of Digital Commerce, the Global Blockchain Alliance and more.

To register for the morning session or the luncheon with NC Tech, please email cie@uncw.edu

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