Introduction to Blockchain and Why it Matters by Lanxi He, Research Analyst Intern, Creative Investment. Georgetown University

On February 4th, the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus sponsored a lecture titled "Introduction to Blockchain and Why It Matters." The panelists were (left to right) Amy Davine Kim, Chief Policy Officer, Chamber of Digital Commerce and moderator, Jeremie Beaudry, Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Counsel, BitPay, Mark Fisk, Partner, IBM Digital, Public Service Blockchain Leader, IBM. Eamonn Maguire, Global Financial Services Lead, KPMG Blockchain Services, and Randy Bishop, General Manager, Energy Infrastructure, Guardtime.

The panelists reviewed blockchain applications, defined what blockchain is, discussed why it is important and closed by talking about how blockchain impacts business, government and consumers.

A blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that organize data into sections, or "blocks" that are “chained” together chronologically by a cryptographic hash function and confirmed as authentic using a consensus mechanism. Applications such as e-mail, e-commerce, and business process can be supported by blockchain.

One of the critical features of blockchain is its potential to create transactional efficiencies in transferring value and recording transactions. Panelist discussed blockchain use cases in trade finance and in the supply chain.

Supply chain blockchain implementation, in particular, can improve the identification of the source and path of food and produce. In fact, food safety is one of the most important applications. Firms can use this technologies to track the path of the food from origin to the table.

Blockchain technology can also be applied to securities, healthcare, insurance and so on.

This technology can be used to enhance the effectiveness of government regulation in many areas, including financial institution regulation and insurance company regulation.

Blockchain has really important impacts on innovation and economic growth. These applications of the technology need support from policymakers.

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