Every one of you has probably heard something about “blockchain” in the past several years. At the latest the term became common parlance last year during the heady rally—and subsequent crash—of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Blockchain is the key technology behind Bitcoin and other digital currencies—but can do a whole lot more than just that.
As a decentralized digital registry, it enables fraud-proof transmission of information on the internet and can thereby make an essential contribution to cybersecurity. Because of the high degree of transparency involved, tampering with a blockchain is practically impossible. Examples of the technology’s application can be found in global trade, where the technology can help prove the authenticity of products and certifications—for instance with regard to supply chains for food. Our cover story presents other potential applications and explains how the blockchain actually works.
The article in this issue of ABOUT TRUST is also a kind of birthday greeting to blockchain. Ten years ago, in October 2008, a researcher or team of researchers (they remain anonymous to this day), using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, published a paper that introduced the blockchain concept for the first time. The fact that this idea has so quickly become a technology with the potential to completely redefine business models shows once again just how dynamic and fast-paced our world has become in the era of digitization.