Which blockchain technology is currently hot?
The technology powering the digital economy has been in the spotlight for months, but has the hype died down and its value increased?
The technology behind blockchain has been under intense scrutiny in recent months, with a recent study showing that bitcoin, bitcoin’s chief rival, is now the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency.
But is it a scam?
And is bitcoin a scam at all?
These questions were put to the tech industry, where it’s understood that bitcoin is a blockchain technology that enables transactions and is based on a cryptographic protocol known as the blockchain.
A key component of the blockchain is a public ledger that records all transactions, known as a blockchain.
The bitcoin blockchain, for example, contains all of the transactions that took place on its network in 2017, with the latest transactions recorded in the ledger in 2017.
This means that if the public ledger is hacked, any data on transactions that are not recorded in bitcoin would be lost, or at least not recorded at all.
However, if all of those transactions are recorded on the blockchain, then the data is not lost, but is instead publicly available to anyone who wants to verify transactions.
“The blockchain is an online ledger, which is not only easier for hackers to manipulate, but also for users to verify,” says the Oxford University research paper.
“Its simplicity is its advantage.”
The blockchain has become one of the most talked about technologies and has become a key target of hackers and politicians alike.
Bitcoin has become hugely popular, with more than US$1.3 trillion worth of the digital currency in circulation.
It has been described as a currency that is secure and anonymous, with its transactions recorded by a central authority.
However it has also attracted criticism from those who believe that bitcoin’s blockchain is riddled with fraud.
“Bitcoin is a digital currency, it’s not a bank account, it is not a social network, it doesn’t store a whole bunch of information on your computer,” said Peter Kirby, a professor at the University of Sussex in England.
“If you were going to steal the money out of a bitcoin, you’d be able to get it from a central person in China, so I don’t think it’s that difficult.”
Bitcoin’s chief competitor, Ethereum, was also created in part to combat the threat of blockchain fraud.
However blockchain technology has become increasingly used to store, store and store again.
“What has happened with bitcoin is that the value of the bitcoin has gone up exponentially, and it’s gone up to $2,000 an ounce,” says Paul Vixie, the chief executive of the Bitcoin Foundation.
“It has been really a great ride for bitcoin, it has been a great rally, it had all sorts of ups and downs.
But it’s really been the best investment that I’ve ever made.”
It is estimated that more than $200bn has been invested in bitcoin and Ethereum over the last 12 months.
However some argue that the blockchain could potentially be used for more nefarious purposes, such as for money laundering.
“I think there is a risk that people will start to think, well, this is a better alternative for money, or to make illicit transactions, or you could just make a lot of money off of this, rather than just using bitcoin,” says Andrew Pimentel, an analyst at New York-based research firm FactSet.
He adds that the potential for abuse is significant, particularly in a market where the supply of bitcoins is so large that any single transaction can be used as evidence in a court case.
“A person could be trying to buy $100,000 worth of bitcoin, and the blockchain would show that somebody else bought it,” he says.
“But if they wanted to buy another $100 million, they could just have $100 millions, or $100 trillion worth.”
Bitcoin and Ethereum are not the only digital currencies to be scrutinised in recent times.
Earlier this year, the US Federal Reserve published a report claiming that blockchain technology could be used to undermine bitcoin’s value.
“This technology could, in some circumstances, facilitate a process in which money could be moved without the need for a bank, an intermediary, a central party, or any third party,” the report said.
“As an example, it could facilitate the transfer of a transaction to a third party that has not yet been verified.”
“This is a potentially disruptive technology,” it added.
The Federal Reserve’s concerns about blockchain technology were also echoed by the European Commission, which earlier this month announced it was looking into how blockchain technology might be used in its national budget.
“We’re going to look at this because it’s a new and emerging technology,” an EU commissioner told Reuters.
“And it’s one that we don’t have any data in our budget about yet, but it could be very important.”
However, the Commission is unlikely to put a price tag on blockchain technology.
It said in a statement that it was “not yet ready to discuss a specific price”, but that it would take a