Prepare for Change: Blockchain Tech Takes Off

Bitcoin_picture_hosted_voip_business_phone_systems.jpgIn the not too distant future, you are likely to live in a world underpinned by blockchain—the technology behind the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. The technology has instigated a new generation of young companies looking to invent applications, and we are already beginning to see the results. Imagine being able to vote in the upcoming Brexit referendum on your phone, or make an offer, complete an exchange on a new flat in an afternoon? As unpractical as this sounds, it is where we are headed.

Blockchain technology is not new. It has in fact been around for decades. Blockchain is an encrypted database that is distributed across a computer network. It can only be updated when agreed upon by everyone on the network. And once a change is made, it can’t be overwritten. The result is an extremely safe, private and reliable way of executing transactions.

"Blockchain, for perhaps the first time, presents a legitimate threat to the status quo," says Terry Roche, head of financial technology research at financial advisory firm, Tabb Group.

Hold on to your hats. Here are 3 ways you are going to see the technology used:

Open Market Places 

Open Market Places are a way of selling anything to anyone, anywhere, using bitcoins. OpenBazaar, is an example of an open market place.

Unlike with eBay or Amazon, users don't visit a website but download a programme that directly connects them with other potential buyers and sellers. There is no middleman or controlling corporate interest, meaning there are no fees, no restrictions and no accounts to create. You only reveal the personal information you are comfortable sharing. 

Even though it is only in its testing phase, it has already been downloaded 20,000 times in the past three weeks.

Smart contracts

Blockchain technology has major implications for the way we execute contracts. We will soon be seeing smart contracts—programmes that can automatically verify that contract terms have been met, and only once that has been done, authorise payment. This happens all in real time without any need for middlemen.

The results of the transaction are permanently recorded in the blockchain database.

Companies like SmartContract and Hedgy are already running with this concept, developing applications for the financial, property and commerce markets. And start-up, Hellosent, thinks smart contracts in combination with IoT devices could be used to monitor deliveries of fine wines. Sensors would continuously measure the temperature and humidity of the wine in transit, then if either fell below agreed levels as recorded in the smart contract, the purchase would be automatically cancelled.

Predicting the future

Some firms are even developing their own version of blockchain. Ethereum is a blockchain-based decentralised platform in which developers can create their own applications, cryptocurrencies and virtual organisations.  

This is spurring on a whole new realm of innovation. Augur, for example, developed on Ethereum, is an application that harnesses "the wisdom of crowds", i.e. a form of collective intelligence, to predict the outcome of future events.

While still in Beta testing, Augur aims to be a global prediction market platform that would enable the expertise of anyone to be utilised in markets. The result is what Augur believes will be the most accurate forecasting tool in history.

But as cool as all this sounds, there is the potential of a dotcom-like bubble as venture capitalists massively increase spending on blockchain-related ventures: $3m to $474m (£335m) from 2011 to 2015 to be exact. And the technology is not without its faults; there are growing numbers of complaints about slowing transaction speeds. Nonetheless our advice is to watch this space. Blockchain technology will likely be making its way into mainstream businesses, and your life, sooner rather than later.


 About VTSL

VTSL is a hosted communications provider specialising in VoIP business phone systems, converged solutions and unified communications.  Offering businesses end-to-end solutions for all corporate communications needs, VTSL has been at the leading edge of business telephony and connectivity for nearly 10 years.  With over 30 features included for free in VTSL VoIP business phone systems, high-speed internet, CRM integration, home working solutions, mobile twinning and the best SLAs in the industry, VTSL offer a unified communications service unparalleled in quality and service.  Learn more by calling 020 7078 3200 or emailing


Topics: New technology