People often talk about blockchain in a general sense, which can be really confusing. Essentially, blockchain is a database technology that processes and stores transaction data. Blockchain technology is good at tracking and accounting for assets. A large part of its appeal is the security it provides.
People using blockchain technology download something called the ledger, which is a record of the transfer of assets. These “assets” can differ depending on what industry you’re talking about. For example, the assets can be Bitcoin in the cryptocurrency market, or renewable energy credits in the energy market.
The ledger can be compared to a book. Each transaction is a page of the book, which are numbered and in order. Everyone who has a copy of the book (or downloads this ledger) knows the order of the pages and sometimes the content of each page. This makes the ledger immutable, meaning it’s unable to be changed. Therefore, the ledger is secure. If someone tries to change the content of a “page” everyone who has a copy of the ledger knows.
While blockchain technology is often referenced in relation to bitcoin, it’s applicable in many other areas.
To uncover more of the basic features, benefits and challenges of blockchain technology, Energy Storage Networks editor Michelle Froese interviewed Cassie Bowe of Energy Impact Partners (EIP) in an episode of EnergyWorks.
Cassie is an Associate Vice President with EIP, a venture capital fund that invests in energy technology. She discusses how blockchain technology works and how it could impact the utility and energy industries.