Blockchain is a distributed, immutable ledger that makes it easier to record transactions and track assets in a business network. An asset can be either tangible or intangible. On a blockchain network, virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded, lowering risk and costs for all parties involved.
Information is the lifeblood of business. The faster and more accurate it is received, the better. Blockchain is ideal for delivering that information because it provides immediate, shared, and completely transparent data stored on an immutable ledger that can only be accessed by network members with permission. A blockchain network can track orders, payments, accounts, production, and a variety of other things. And, because members have a unified view of the truth, you can see all aspects of a transaction from start to finish, giving you greater confidence as well as new efficiencies and opportunities.
Key elements of a blockchain
The technology of distributed ledgers
The distributed ledger and its immutable record of transactions are accessible to all network participants. Transactions are recorded only once with this shared ledger, eliminating the duplication of effort that is common in traditional business networks.
After a transaction has been recorded to the shared ledger, no participant can change or tamper with it. If an error is found in a transaction record, a new transaction must be added to correct the error, and both transactions are then visible.
A set of rules, known as a smart contract, is stored on the blockchain and executed automatically to speed up transactions. A smart contract can specify the terms for corporate bond transfers, as well as the terms for travel insurance payments, among other things.