Blockchain, what is it?

The Blockchain technology was originally set up to support digital payments in Bitcoin. Nowadays it is increasingly appearing in a wide range of commercial applications. But what is it exactly and how does it work?

A Blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. This chain is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order. This allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. Each computer connected to the network gets a copy of the Blockchain, which is downloaded automatically. This technology makes it possible for consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for a central authority or central maintenance.

Unquestionable authentication and accountability

The transactions in the Blockchain are validated by participants throughout a calculation process. The security relies on mechanisms based on cryptography. Moreover, the duplication of the ledger on each computer of the network makes it extremely difficult to falsify or remove a record. This means Blockchain technology can work for almost every type of transaction involving value, for example money, goods and property. With unquestionable authentication and accountability, this technology has many benefits, such as infrastructure reduction costs and quick settlement of transactions.


Actively building expertise

Worldline has taken an interest in Blockchain technology since its launch, with work done on the acceptance of Bitcoin for making internet purchases or on Worldline POS Terminals.

In 2015 and 2016, Worldline developed other demonstrations using Blockchain technology to manage financial assets such as company bonds or lists of lost or stolen cards. This allowed us to improve our knowledge on the technology and to assess its advantages and limits. With that knowledge we can assist and advice our clients and partners on how they can build the infrastructure required to create and operate a true global network using solutions based on this technology.

Nicolas Kozakiewicz,
Head of R&D and Innovation Worldline

Innovation being at the core of our DNA, we created a Blockchain Workforce at Worldline, and within the larger Atos Group. Not only does this Workforce educate our colleagues, our customers and our partners on this technology, it also actively contributes to open source and collaborative projects.

Corporate bonds

Application of blockchain technology in the corporate bonds environment, offering a safe and straightforward way to manage their workflows.
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Car Maintenance book

Application of blockchain technology in the automotive environment, offering a safe and forgery-proof car maintenance book.
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POS card hotlist

Application of blockchain technology to the Point of Sale (POS) Terminal hotlists, improving fraud prevention on payment terminals.
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Don Tapscott

Author of ‘Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World‘

The first generation of the digital revolution brought us the Internet of information. The second generation — powered by blockchain technology — is bringing us the Internet of value: a new platform to reshape the world of business and transform the old order of human affairs for the better.
Blockchain is a vast, global distributed ledger or database running on millions of devices and open to anyone, where not just information but anything of value — money, but also titles, deeds, identities, even votes — can be moved, stored and managed securely and privately. Trust is established through mass collaboration and clever code rather than by powerful intermediaries like governments and banks.
Blockchain was the focus of the Atos IT Challenge 2017, an annual international student competition dedicated to technological innovation. 

The competition saw 77 teams from around the world compete on the theme of the Blockchain with innovative concepts for applications based on Blockchain technologies.
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In the world of ubiquitous connectivity and peer to peer interactions, the challenge of establishing and maintaining trust, security and privacy has never been greater. Interest from banks, governments and industry is gaining momentum and driving investment in this technology. It is anticipated that Blockchain and its derivatives have the potential to become a primary means of authenticating business process transactions and will see mainstream adoption by 2020.
Read more (Atos website)

Related links

An introduction to Blockchain

Thought leadership article by Eric Monchalin, Vice-President, Head of Sherlock Innovation at Atos.

Blockchain will lead the revolution in the banking sector

Blog article by equensWorldline: What do surveys reveal regarding the adoption rate of blockchain solutions?

Blockchain in banking: what to expect?

Blog article by equensWorldline: How can banks profit from blockchain technology?