A Bitcoin for Your Thoughts: Demystifying Blockchain

Blockchain is a new way to structure data for greater sharing and security. Its algorithm and distributed data structure were initially designed to manage online currency (like bitcoin) in a way that does not need a central administrator to distribute it among people. This removed the need for a middleman (like a bank) to authenticate that what was being transferred was real currency. Instead, this authentication happens because all of the nodes on a peer-to-peer network connected to the block (the asset, money, or data) have to "approve" its transfer to a new party (a good image of this process is found here).

Blockchain essentially provides an online ledger book. The records (or blocks) are individually secured using cryptography that links them to one another and gives each block its own timestamp and provides data about that particular transaction (who it went to). Looking at the ledger you can see where data started and where it went. Through cryptography and the intricate linkages, the blocks (the original asset) cannot be tampered with. This traceability and security has gotten the attention of the government as a way to better protect sensitive data and transactions. Agencies are investigating how to use it to speed procurement, secure employee records, and better enable electronic health records.[Tweet "The traceability & security of blockchain tech has gotten the attention of the Government. #GovEventsBlog"]

With such a complex technology and possibly even more complex policy needed to manage it in the government environment, there is a lot to learn. Luckily there are a number of events that are tackling the blockchain topic and applying this seemingly abstract topic to real-world challenges.[Tweet "Events that are tackling the blockchain topic in the government environment. #GovEventsBlog"]

  • GITEC Summit 2018: Revolution of Solutions (April 22-24, 2018; Annapolis, MD) -The focus of this summit is on the transformation of government IT programs, initiatives and policies, as well as the evolution of the technologies used.
  • 2018 ICIT Forum (June 18, 2018; Washington, DC) - The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) brings together public and commercial sector cybersecurity experts to collaborate in roundtable sessions, interactive talks, and research-driven advisory.
  • SANS Rocky Mountain 2018 (June 4-9, 2018; Denver, CO) - This event includes a session titled, "Blockchain: the New Digital Swiss Army Knife?" that looks at the impact of blockchain on organizations in terms of risk, volatility, and competitiveness. It will look at alternative uses for the technology other than cryptocurrency, and provide a framework for utilizing and securing the technology.
  • Blockchain Conference 2018 (July 26-27, 2018; Washington, DC) - This conference, organized in cities across the world, brings together senior figures in finance, tech, government, venture capital and start-ups to discuss Blockchain/DLT beyond Bitcoin.

We'd love to hear from you. Where are you getting your information about Blockchain? Share the events and resources you've found helpful in the comments.

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