Blockchain has become increasingly popular in the last few years, but many people still aren't sure exactly what it is. Essentially, it's a way to arrange and keep data digitally, where it can be shared across networks and accessed by those who need it, without requiring it to be centrally located. Most people are probably familiar with it through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In recent years it's also become particularly popular with enterprise users, notably banks and other financial institutions — even WallStreet. For those familiar with the technology, all of this comes as no surprise. As far as databases go, blockchain is a particularly safe, secure, and decentralized way of storing records.
That being said, outside of Bitcoin and banking, it has a lot a host of other potential uses. Perhaps the most popular blockchain-based development technology for enterprise use nowadays is Ethereum. Introduced in 2013 by then-19-year-old developer Vitalik Buterin and developed through Swiss nonprofit Ethereum Foundation, Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs on a custom-built blockchain.
Ethereum is used in payment systems, crowdfunding, gold investing, and many other cloud computing functions. Industry users include Accenture, Microsoft, Intel, a number of banks, and several blockchain startup innovators. Considering the scope of usage around the world, users have come together to form the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA).
The EEA was formed to ensure a better future for the Ethereum blockchain. Its founding members include Accenture, Banco Santander, BlockApps, BNY Mellon, CME Group, ConsenSys, IC3, Intel, J.P. Morgan, Microsoft, and Nuco. Together, the members of the EFA hope to learn from the success of Ethereum and promote software development that can make the complex process usable for businesses around the world.
"[E]nterprises expect resilient secure systems and a robust controls environment. EEA aims to bring these together, both to provide enterprises the forum they need and also to advance Ethereum generally,” Jeremy Millar, founding board member of EEA, explained in a press release for the launch.
Buterin is hopeful that this partnership will bring about a future of diverse Ethereum use. “The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance project can play an important role in standardizing approaches for privacy, permissioning and providing alternative consensus algorithms to improve its usability in enterprise settings, and the resources the project and its members are contributing should accelerate the advancement of the Ethereum ecosystem generally,” he said.
As competition amongst businesses in many industries stiffens, blockchain technology is likely to become even more in-demand in the years to come. While there are many competing blockchain programs out there, with the backing of the EEA by so many high profile companies, it stands to reason that Ethereum could become the go-to as more businesses seek to incorporate the technology.
Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.