The rise of blockchain technology, one of the most transformative technologies we’ve seen since the advent of the internet, has unlocked new ways to operate businesses. In the case of journalism, it unlocks two critical features: self-governance and permanence. More broadly, it enables journalists to take the oft-criticized “middleman” (advertisers, publishers, other, non-journalistic third-parties) out of the equation.
Breaking down how blockchain works can inspire much confusion, but its basic function is really not as complicated as many explanations make it out to be.
“Blockchain” refers to a massive network of independent computers, or “nodes,” that each have independent access to a “digital ledger” (think: an Excel spreadsheet on steroids) that tracks and records all transactions that occur on the network. The record is simultaneously updated across each individual node, which makes it nearly impossible to alter content once it’s recorded on the blockchain.
To many, it’s still a mystifying, hard-to-grasp model, but blockchain at its core unlocks two key differentiators for modern businesses:
Permanence, or the ability to create an unchangeable record for data that lives outside the grasp of a single company (even Google!)
Governance, or the ability to create vastly different power structures that efficiently spreads decision-making out across an entire network, as opposed to concentrating power in the hands of a single individual or a small group
Here’s a more detailed blockchain explainer piece for those interested.