A decentralized, distributed ledger that tracks and stores every transaction in a verifiable manner, the blockchain records transactions across multiple nodes (or computers) in such a way that the recorded transaction cannot be retroactively changed. This is a big difference from a traditional database where information is held centrally and makes it impossible for a single person or entity to manage all nodes.
For a technology so relatively new – it was only invented in 2008 by an unknown person or persons using the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto (the word “Satoshi” means “clear thinking, quick-witted” in Japanese), describing it as the core technology used behind bitcoin – the blockchain has been revolutionary.
The original bitcoin blockchain was designed as an immutable ledger that records all bitcoin transactions. Since it is impossible to change historical data in this ledger, anyone can see how many bitcoins have been transferred from one account to another at any given time – making it impossible for people to lie about how much money they have or where their money is. money came from.
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You may be thinking, isn’t the crypto scene in crisis right now?
But nearly 15 years later, the use cases for blockchain technology have grown far beyond crypto, providing new answers to challenges across industries.
A growth sector
An obvious first sector for adoption was banking and finance. The industry seized the opportunity wisely, with blockchain technology helping traditional pillar banks enter the fintech and neobanking space.
Back in 2017, IBM was involved in a project to build blockchain technology for a consortium of seven of Europe’s largest banks, including HSBC and Rabobank. The aim was to facilitate international trade for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Today, the technology is also used in the day-to-day operations of many large and well-known companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, JP Morgan, Amazon, and Facebook.
But blockchain technology is not without drawbacks. Bitcoin mining has been heavily criticized for its massive energy consumption. In 2020, bitcoin mining consumed 75.4 terawatt-hours of electricity (TWh), representing higher electricity consumption than Austria (69.9 TWh) or Portugal (48.4 TWh) in that year, according to a study from Scientific Reports.
Despite this, blockchain cheerleaders have long spoken of the technology’s potential to benefit all sorts of industries. Besides digital currencies and banking, the field is still wide open. Cloud storage and cybersecurity are obvious areas as the decentralized nature of the blockchain helps keep data safe.
There are also use cases for health and medical records, logistics, advertising, retail, NFTs, music rights and royalties, and much more. That means the career potential is also huge: Gartner predicts that business value generated by blockchain will grow to $176 billion by 2025 and $3.1 trillion by 2030, and VCs continue to invest billions of dollars in industry startups.
While there are a large number of bitcoin and crypto wallet startups in the blockchain space, there are also many more companies doing interesting things with blockchain technology. Below, we take a look at four companies developing exciting businesses in the fields of pharma, digital identity, energy and trade.
Based in France, BlockPharma develops a blockchain-based solution for drug traceability and anti-counterfeiting, featuring the BlockPharma app that allows users to instantly verify the authenticity of medications they purchase. The company uses the latest machine learning technologies to improve the detection of counterfeit drugs.
Energy Web is a global non-profit organization that develops open source technology to decarbonise the global economy. It has grown the world’s largest energy blockchain ecosystem, comprising utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, corporate energy buyers and others. Although it operates globally, it has an extensive footprint in Europe, including 27 projects in 15 countries.
Delivering the future of digital identity, Authentic has created the world’s first fully automated, digital identification and eKYC system that allows businesses to instantly trust their customers, while users remain in control of their identities. Born into the Icelandic startup scene, the company is now based in Berlin.
Composable commerce is a development approach that takes the best commerce components and combines them or “assembles” them into a custom application built for your needs, and the Berlin-based Sprykeris a modular and customizable commerce stack with next-generation cloud capabilities that scales with users’ businesses.
Right now, there are plenty of companies hiring for blockchain roles. In Dublin, Mastercard is looking for a Frontend Engineer, Crypto & Blockchain. In this role, you will be able to build next-generation cryptocurrency tools, law enforcement tools, DeFi platforms, and build middleware services to link the user interface to the back-end infrastructure.
Boston Consulting Group is looking for a Blockchain Consultant and Sr Consultant in Amsterdam. The role requires you to create blockchain strategy and use case identification, as well as validation of blockchain solutions from both business and technical aspects. You also define the roadmap for blockchain solutions and business models.
In Bordeaux, Abbeal, a web and mobile application development company, is looking for a Blockchain developer. You use your web, mobile or DevOps skills to contribute to client projects as well as Abbeal’s projects.
Visit the House of Talent Job Board to discover great blockchain jobs across Europe