Blockchain is increasing in popularity at a very high rate. Just at the beginning of the year 2017, the search for the word blockchain went up by 400% from 2016. This was a huge increase as it became second among the top most searched websites on the internet, in the first quarter of 2017. Blockchain is being used to record and verify transactions on a public ledger. In future it is expected to venture into other sectors. With Ripple seeking a breakthrough in integrating with banks, 2018 could be the year when the cryptocurrency takes off.
Currently the blockchain network is public and in some cases it is private. For the former, transactions take long to be verified due to the issues of security. If they were private, it would only take a few seconds, if not minutes to verify transactions across the blockchain network. If there is no central authority, users are left to make their own regulations. This is where smart contracts will come in to stipulate guidelines on how those transactions will be carried out, which will speed up the process.
The internet is home to hackers who can find their way into any network as long as it is connected to the internet. A recent case is the hacking of Youbit, which led to the massive loss of investors’ funds and the firm filing for bankruptcy, since it was a second attack. Due to such factors that threaten the blockchain technology, cybersecurity is expected to be beefed up in ICOs to protect both the business and investors. This will help to build confidence in the growth of technology as more people will be reeled in to invest and raise funds for their startups.
You could see the fusion of blockchain with artificial intelligence (AI). No human interaction will be required to carry out transactions as this will be done through the interactions of computer systems. In short, you will be able to pay and receive cash without having to do anything, since the machine will do that for you.
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin use both private and public keys to secure the coins in the blockchain. However, this could change come 2018 as they might not be that secure in the public ledger. Anyone can have access to the public ledger if they are within that particular blockchain. With a central authority, that helps to verify a transaction before it can be completed, it would help improve security. In a private ledger, users could be vetted before they can be allowed to access or be part of a particular blockchain, which is more secure.