This article was published on June 19, 2019

Industry bigwigs explain ‘blockchain’ in as few words as possible

Can you explain blockhain in only a couple of sentences?

Industry bigwigs explain ‘blockchain’ in as few words as possible
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

The blockchain and cryptocurrency industry is always changing. Every week there seems to be new legislation, new technological developments, or new scandals capturing the headlines. It can be tough trying to keep up with how it’s all developing.

At this year’s annual TNW conference, Hard Fork took the opportunity to ask a number of industry experts to explain blockchain in as few words as possible. We hoped to get a bit of insight into how the tech is developing and what the industry currently makes of it.

Here’s what they said:

1. “Blockchain is a chain of blocks. That’s the definition, anything else is wrong.” – João Almeida, co-founder and CTO of Opennode – the Bitcoin payments system that recently helped Lil Pump’s merch store accept Bitcoin.

The <3 of EU tech

The latest rumblings from the EU tech scene, a story from our wise ol' founder Boris, and some questionable AI art. It's free, every week, in your inbox. Sign up now!

2. “Blockchain is the freedom to trade.” – Kirill Suslov, the CEO and co-founder of cryptocurrency trading platform TabTrader.

3. “Blockchain is a hash-linked data format.” – Francis Pouliot, CEO of Canadian Bitcoin company Bull Bitcoin.

4. “A new technology enabling us to take the control and governance of information from the few, and to the many.” – Jessi Baker from Provenance, a firm using blockchain to make supply chains more transparent.

5. “Blockchain is simple, take a bunch of transaction, record them as a unique block, and link all these blocks together.”– Ricardo Mendez, the European technical director from Samsung’s emerging tech investment arm, Samsung NEXT.

The take away?

There is some consistency in what is being described here. Interestingly though, all the people Hard Fork asked steered clear of the common buzzwords that tend to accompany blockchain in the media.

Blockchains are often described as being immutable, tamper-resistant, and decentralized. However, with private permissioned systems being the preferred type of blockchain for institutional use, these buzzwords aren’t always so applicable.

It seems too, that blockchain’s definition is, from this small sample at least, broadening so that it can include all kinds of distributed databases and applications with varying levels of decentralization.

Baker’s response also highlights the undeniable politic that’s associated with the decentralized tech too.

We’ll have to remember that when someone says blockchain, what they mean specifically, isn’t always that simple or universal.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with

Related Articles