What is Blockchain?

Technological innovations such as robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud technology and the mobile economy have established themselves very quickly over the last few years through developments like social media and digital identities, and have now become a key element of the commercial and social economy (e.g. sharing economy, crowdfunding). It is therefore important for companies to understand the impact of these technological advances on their business models so that they can adapt themselves to new circumstances. The ability to change is now a necessary if not vital skill that companies must possess if they are to defend or expand existing competitive advantages and market shares. These adjustments result in a transformation strategy that makes the difference between success and failure. In recent years the world has demonstrated on numerous occasions how former market leaders such as Kodak1 or Nokia2 have continuously lost market share due to a lack of transformation strategies and ultimately exited the market. To prevent this, companies must examine these innovative technologies on an ongoing basis and evaluate whether and what change they could bring about. If people

such as Don Tapscott, the author of the book “Blockchain Revolution”, or the news networks and newspapers are to be believed, we are on the verge of a “decentralisation revolution”. Driven by Blockchain technology, there is a level of hype similar to that seen prior to the first commercial use of the Internet. The World Economic Forum defines

Blockchain technology as follows: Blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a technological protocol that enables data to be exchanged directly between different contracting parties within a network without the need for intermediaries. The network participants interact with encrypted identities (anonymously); each transaction is then added to an immutable transaction chain and distributed to all network nodes. As a result, Blockchain is expected to offer enormous potential for bringing about radical change in a wide range of industries, business models and operating processes such as payment settlement, accounting or the use of customer and loyalty cards. Please refer to the use case boxes throughout the text as well as the appendix for detailed discussions. In view of the technical complexity and the lack of acceptance of these far-reaching changes in the private, public and commercial sectors, this new technology will in all probability only catch on gradually and depending on how it develops over the coming months and years. It is therefore less a question of whether Blockchain will establish itself and more a question of when and in what areas. “Blockchain will not only be a new disruptive database technology. Over time, Blockchain solutions will also be implemented in financial software upgrade cycles. In ‘restricted areas’ at first, then in more comprehensive applications.” Thomas Ankenbrand, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts What is Blockchain?

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