Random Thoughts: The Blockchain

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  • For those who are not sure what a blockchain is: simply put, it is a distributed electronic ledger based on cryptographic principles. While is was developed as the ledger for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, it is really separate from any currency – for example, it can be used as a ledger to notarize land transactions. [1]
  • Bitcoin itself seems to by dying, according to Mike Heard, one of the foremost Bitcoin developers. I was skeptical about it – for different reasons, though – so I am not totally surprised.
  • Blockchain technology, though is starting to take off. Banks have been investing for a while – so has my own employer – and we are starting to see practical use in insurance: UK based Everledger has implemented a ledger for diamonds to prevent insurance fraud.
  • Richard Kastelein at suggests a few more uses. I especially like the idea of pre-certification: “[…] whether someone actually follows the rules is no longer verified in the bureaucratic process afterward. You simply program these rules into the blockchain.”
  • In the upcoming cyberrisk study, I’ll be taking a look at how decentralization technologies like blockchain will shape the future in the industry. Stay tuned…

Insurance Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

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