Blockchain is an emerging technology that can radically improve banking, supply chain, and other transaction networks and can create new opportunities for innovation. Businesses contain many examples of networks of individuals and organizations that collaborate to create value and wealth. These networks work together in markets that exchange assets in the form of goods and services between the participants. Blockchain technology provides the basis for a dynamic shared ledger, that can be applied to save time when recording transactions between parties, remove costs associated with intermediaries, and reduce risks of fraud and tampering. Business networks today are often inefficient because each participant in the network keeps records, or a ledger, of all transactions between all the parties that the business interacts with. This process is expensive because of duplication of effort and intermediaries adding costs for their services. Blockchains are one form of distributed ledger technology. Not all distributed ledgers employ a chain of blocks to provide a secure and valid distributed consensus.
A blockchain is distributed across and managed by peer-to-peer networks. Since it is a distributed ledger, it can exist without a centralized authority or server managing it, and its data quality can be maintained by database replication and computational trust. However, the structure of the blockchain makes it distinct from other kinds of distributed ledgers. Data on a blockchain is grouped together and organized in blocks which are then inter-linked and secured using cryptography. A blockchain is essentially a continuously growing list of records. Its append-only structure only allows data to be added to the database: altering or deleting previously entered data on earlier blocks is impossible. Blockchain technology is therefore well-suited for recording events, managing records, processing transactions, tracing assets, and reduce risks of fraud. Smart contracts, distributed cloud storage, digital identity, gift cards/loyalty programs, networking and IOT are few applications where blockchain could play a very important role for small business.