Blockchain promises to solve this problem. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically. (See the sidebar “How Blockchain Works.”)
Anyone can access the bitcoin network via an anonymous connection (for example, the TOR network or a VPN network), and submit or receive transactions revealing nothing more than his public key. However if someone uses the same public key over and over, it’s possible to connect all the transactions to the same owner. The bitcoin network allows you to generate as many wallets as you like, each with its own private and public keys. This allows you to receive payments on different wallets, and there is no way for anyone to know that you own all these wallets’ private keys, unless you send all the received bitcoins to a single wallet.
In early January, the company announced that its exe50/50 decentralized application (DApp) was posted to TestNet, which the release states following the test phase, coding used in the its development will be made public on the Peerplays blockchain network. On May 1, the company announced the development of a blockchain sidechain that will allow bitcoin users direct access to eXeBlock’s decentralized applications being developed by third party developers.
Perhaps a better example is ownership of a more valuable asset, such as a substantial share in a company or valuable digital asset such as a one-off piece of digital artwork. To transfer shares of ownership in a company, the current model requires stacks of paperwork, a lawyer or a centralized and trusted entity, such as the New York Stock Exchange.
True blockchain-led transformation of business and government, we believe, is still many years away. That’s because blockchain is not a “disruptive” technology, which can attack a traditional business model with a lower-cost solution and overtake incumbent firms quickly. Blockchain is a foundational technology: It has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems. But while the impact will be enormous, it will take decades for blockchain to seep into our economic and social infrastructure. The process of adoption will be gradual and steady, not sudden, as waves of technological and institutional change gain momentum. That insight and its strategic implications are what we’ll explore in this article.
As you can see, several of these real-world demands for the evolution of the initial Bitcoin implementation are still highly relevant. Trade-offs between scalability and decentralization are demonstrated with Ethereum’s focus on decentralization first and resulting complexities in developing scalable solutions. The increased emphasis on smart contract functionality, pegging real-world assets to blockchains, and experimentation of altcoins that are currently ongoing also represent the forward-thinking ideas outlined in the paper.
As with much of the legislation, regulation, and business drivers behind blockchain, it starts with fintech (financial technology). More than a million companies and 66 percent of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated and legally headquartered in Delaware, in large part because of the state's largest export: uncertified shares (meaning the ability to own shares in a company without holding the actual stock certificate). In partnership with blockchain fintech company Symbiont, the Delaware Blockchain Initiative announced in 2016 will completely automate stock issuance and recordkeeping on a blockchain ledger.
The common thread between all of them is that mathematical rules and impregnable cryptography, rather than trust in fallible humans or institutions, are what guarantee the integrity of the ledger. It’s a version of what the cryptographer Ian Grigg described as “triple-entry bookkeeping”: one entry on the debit side, another for the credit, and a third into an immutable, undisputed, shared ledger.
So, what does blockchain technology bring to the table that current payment networks don't? For starters, and as noted, it's decentralized. That's a fancy way of saying that there's no central hub where transaction data is stored. Instead, servers and hard drives all over the world hold bits and pieces of these blocks of data. This is done for two purposes. First, it ensures that no one party can gain control over a cryptocurrency and blockchain. Also, it keeps cybercriminals from being able to hold a digital currency "hostage" should they gain access to transaction data.
The two-way peg is the mechanism for transferring assets between sidechains and is set at a fixed or predefined rate. Bitcoin’s Dynamic Membership Multi-Party Signature (DMMS) plays a vital role in the functionality of the two-way peg. The DMMS is one of Bitcoin’s lesser known but incredibly important components. It is a group digital signature — composed of the block headers in Bitcoin — that has no fixed size due to the computationally powered PoW nature of its blockchain. The Pegged Sidechain paper further describes it as:
The original Litecoin we started out with are now Rootstock Litecoin, which I can use for creating smart contracts and as previously mentioned Sidechains can exist for all types of digital assets with propositions of not only smart contracts but the ability to provide more freedom for experimentation with Beta releases of core software and Altcoins, as well as the taking over of traditional banking instruments such as the issuing and tracking of shares, bonds and other assets.
Localized applications are a natural next step for companies. We’re seeing a lot of investment in private blockchain networks right now, and the projects involved seem poised for real short-term impact. Financial services companies, for example, are finding that the private blockchain networks they’ve set up with a limited number of trusted counterparties can significantly reduce transaction costs.
In 1494 Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar and mathematician, codified their practices by publishing a manual on math and accounting that presented double-entry bookkeeping not only as a way to track accounts but as a moral obligation. The way Pacioli described it, for everything of value that merchants or bankers took in, they had to give something back. Hence the use of offsetting entries to record separate, balancing values—a debit matched with a credit, an asset with a liability.
To be added to the blockchain, each block must contain the answer to a complex mathematical problem created using an irreversible cryptographic hash function. The only way to solve such a mathematical problem is to guess random numbers that, combined with the previous block content, generate a defined result. It could take about a year for a typical computer to guess the right number and solve the mathematical problem. However, due to the large number of computers in the network that are guessing numbers, a block is solved on average every 10 minutes. The node that solves the mathematical problem acquires the right to place the next block on the chain and broadcast it to the network.
The times and sequences of transactions in the block are recorded with a unique identifier, like a digital fingerprint, called a “hash.” Each block is linked by its cryptographic identifier to the next block and the previous blocks cannot be altered without first decrypting the hash of the succeeding blocks. Each new block created further strengthens the security of the preceding blocks. The longer the blockchain grows, the more secure the blocks of transactions in the chain become.
One of the futures envisioned in Blockchain Revolution is a "second era of democracy": one in which blockchain technology can create the conditions for fair, secure, and convenient digital voting that galvanizes the citizenry by removing so many of the systemic voting roadblocks plaguing our current system. Putting democracy on a blockchain is complicated, but startups including Follow My Vote and Settlemint are already laying out frameworks centered around blockchain-based tokens serving as votes, dropped in digital wallets for each candidate.
Plasma is a proposed framework for incentivized and enforced execution of smart contracts which is scalable to a significant amount of state updates per second (potentially billions) enabling the blockchain to be able to represent a significant amount of decentralized financial applications worldwide. These smart contracts are incentivized to continue operation autonomously via network transaction fees, which is ultimately reliant upon the underlying blockchain (e.g. Ethereum) to enforce transactional state transitions.

Medical and recreational marijuana is being legalized in more and more states across the U.S. This new, fast-growing sector of the economy presents challenges we haven't dealt with before, partly because even in states where it's legal, there are still a lot of things cannabis-related businesses can't do. Blockchain is helping fill in gaps for entrepreneurs, particularly when it comes to banking and legal protection.
For Jeff Garzik, it started the way many a buzzy idea in the tech community has over the years: with a post on "news for nerds" and OG tech aggregator Garzik is the CEO and cofounder of enterprise blockchain startup Bloq, but has spent years as a Bitcoin core developer. He was also recently elected to the Board of Directors of The Linux Foundation (as the first member with a blockchain and cryptocurrency background).