Back in the early 1990s, very few people had heard of the internet, let alone had any inkling as to just how much it would disrupt traditional ways of working and consumer habits. Now, should the hype be believed, we’re on the cusp of a similar development; this time in the form of Blockchain.
The potential of Blockchain lies in its ability to create a distributed ledger of transactions, of which all participants have an identical copy that can be accessed and viewed in real-time. There are huge implications for payments, and therefore accountants, but also for any industry or process relying on the sharing of information in a secure and timely fashion.
“Blockchain is distributed, decentralised database technology that maintains a growing list of transactions and, through encryption and other activity, verifies their permanence,” explains Hywel Ball, UK head of audit at EY. “It means every participant in the process can manipulate the ledger securely and without the need for a central authority, because they all see it simultaneously.”
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