BMW, GM, Ford launch blockchain research group: What is blockchain?

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What You Need To Know About Bitcoin

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Automotive companies General Motors, BMW, Ford and Renault are joining forces to create a blockchain technology group.

MOBI — the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative — launched today with more than 30 founding members. The group wants to make transporation ““safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible using blockchain technology.”

So what is blockchain? It’s closely associated with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but it can used for as a technological tool for all kinds of different applications.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a global digital ledger that is used to keep a chronological record of virtual transactions. It's a a global network of computers that tracks and creates a database of transactions. Any asset, "whether it's bitcoin or bananas, can have its own blockchain that records information about transactions that have taken place," according to GE officials.

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Are other companies using blockchain? 

Engineers at GE Global Research are inventing ways to use blockchain. Engineers at GE Global Research are looking for ways to use blockchain to connect consumers and producers of electricity with batteries supplied by wind and solar farms. "Blockchain is this type of technology that comes in waves. It will happen, absolutely, whether we are there to take advantage of it or not," said Ben Beckman, lead scientist of the Complex Systems Engineering Lab at GE Global Research.

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What else can blockchain be used for? 

For Michael Hiles, an entrepreneur and Eaton resident, the underlying blockchain technology has been an opportunity to start a new business. Hiles founded Cincinnati-based startup 10XTS, a venture lab that builds enterprise blockchain products and solutions for various industries.

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Blockchain technology is useful for more than just bitcoin. It can be used for tracking ownership, digital assets and even voting rights. It can create new ways to do business and offer new services to people throughout the world, the startup community claims.

“I think in 10 years, it’ll find its way into every industrial space,” Hiles said. “Just like the internet, no one ever thought it would do what it did, but here we are 20 years later and it has disrupted every industry segment. I expect that same impact with regards to blockchain-related applications.”


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