Techlandia Issue 3 - 2019/2020 - Page 54

breaking down


Years after Bitcoin launched a frenzy of investment in cryptocurrency, businesses are giving Bitcoin's underlying technology – blockchain – a fresh look.

A revolution is brewing in Oregon tech.

Its foundations are more than a decade in the making. But it is taking place behind the scenes, within the computer code of some of the largest financial firms, product distributors and health care providers that operate in the state.

The potential for blockchain to disrupt industries goes well beyond finance. The research firm IDC projected businesses will invest an estimated $2.9 billion in blockchain technology this year, nearly double the amount spent in 2018.

Users are seeing the potential for blockchain's massive, fraud-resistant strands of encrypted transaction data to transform company supply chains, accounting ledgers and a host of othertransactions that guide everyday commerce.

And some watchers of the technology say Oregon's wealth of large data centers, its legacy as an open source pioneer and the

willingness of state institutions to invest in new technology makes Oregon fertile ground for innovation blockchain solutions.

"Blockchain is one of the most transformative technologies that has come along in a long time," said Jeff Gaus, a founder of Oregon Enterprise Blockchain Venture Studio, a new Portland effort that's attempting to recruit national leaders in blockchain to apply the emerging technology to issues faced by Oregon companies. "I'd put it on par with the impact of HTML in 1993. That changed everything, and blockchain is going to change everything as well."

At its most basic, blockchain is a sequence of data linked together by a computer code. Numerous types of transactions, from a purchase made with a credit card to trades of stock or insurance claims are tracked and verified by a computer network that records a digital signature for each transaction.