A one-day conference in Albuquerque this Friday could help local businesses, professionals and others learn how to harness blockchain, an emerging technology that’s busting up old, less secure ways of sharing information online.
CNM Ingenuity, a nonprofit that manages Central New Mexico Community College’s commercial activities, is hosting the second annual BlockFiesta conference at its main campus Friday, Oct. 4 to empower more people, businesses and organizations with the know-how for incorporating blockchain into their daily operations, said CNM Ingenuity senior technology advisor Bill Halverson.
“It’s emerging as one of the primary technologies being used today to provide data in an accurate, decentralized code for businesses to safely and securely record transactions,” Halverson said. “Health, finance, government and education are some of the biggest sectors using it now.”
Blockchain is essentially made up of a digital list of records, or ledgers, that contain locked-in blocks of information that can’t be changed or corrupted. All network users can see the ledgers, and as new transactions or changes in information occur, those things get added as fresh blocks in the chain, allowing users to track and verify the history and current status of everything related to an asset or interaction.
When the blocks are linked together, they’re secured by cryptography to form the blockchain, creating a non-forgeable record of all transactions that is replicated on every computer on the network. If information in a new block can’t be verified by all the other blocks in the chain, it’s discarded, providing a secure way to share information and manage assets online.
The technology first emerged as the foundational platform that enables use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But it’s since spread to many different sectors for use in everything from agriculture and real estate to banking and logistics and transportation management.
At the BlockFiesta conference, CNM will discuss its use of blockchain to issue digital diplomas to graduates that they can share with employers or others securely from mobile devices.
“It’s allowing educational providers to work in concert with each other to provide credentials to students across the globe,” Halverson said. “Students can create a sovereign identity and attach any credentials from any school to their blockchain identity.”
City officials will talk about putting property liens on blockchain to allow them to view all property issues and transactions in one place rather than consolidate those things from multiple sites and services as they do now.
Some local businesses will also discuss their use of blockchain. And “discovery” sessions will help attendees determine how they can apply blockchain to their own operations.
The conference costs $69, or $49 for students, faculty, educational staff and seniors. For more information, visit BlockFiesta.org.