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This content is taken from the UCL Consultants & UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies's online course, Introduction to Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Time is money, and that’s certainly true in my case. If there’s one thing I like to spend my cash on, it’s a beautiful watch or an unusual watch, or maybe a watch that tells a story, as well as the time. Like this, designed in the 60s to work on the surface of the moon, or this classic calculator watch, useful for adding up all those air miles on the way back to Earth. I buy watches from lots of different places. They don’t have to be expensive, or even rare, but they do have to be genuine. They have to be authentic. So I always do my research.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 seconds I read the reviews, I scrutinise the descriptions, and I email the seller with a bunch of questions. But can I ever really be sure that what they tell me is the truth? And when you think about it, it’s not just the watches I’m taking at face value. What about the money I buy them with? Are the pounds in my bank account in any sense real, or just numbers on a screen, digital information that can be copied with the click of a mouse? Hello, my name is Thiago Earp, and I’m your presenter for this course.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds The issue of trust between strangers is complicated, and it’s becoming more complicated by the day, as the flow of information, services, and goods around the world explodes. What’s true and what’s false? What’s real and what’s fake? Sometimes it can be impossible to tell, impossible to find out when and where a product was made, impossible to trace any previous owners, or even who made it in the first place. Who knows the provenance of their sneakers or smartphone? Or how about when the stakes are higher, like a priceless piece of art or medical equipment where lives can be at stake? Thousands of components, thousands of suppliers, countless transactions, and multiple middlemen.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 seconds But there is hope, and it goes by the name of distributed ledger technology, DLT for short, more usually called blockchain. It’s estimated that by 2030, blockchain will generate $3.1 trillion in new business value. That’s around the same as Japan’s GDP in 2018. Some of the world’s largest companies are betting heavily on blockchain. IBM, Facebook, Oracle, Uber, and Vodafone, banking giants HSBC and J.P. Morgan, retailers Walmart and Farfetch are all investing in DLT and blockchain projects as we speak. But the best known and still perhaps the most successful use case of blockchain technology is of course Bitcoin. The headline-grabbing cryptocurrency, created in mysterious circumstances, is worth over $130 billion as of January 2020.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds So even though the technology is new, there’s widespread belief that blockchain and DLT are going to transform business processes and how all kinds of information is coordinated. Over the next four weeks, I’ll help you figure out how blockchain technology works and its benefits for both customers and businesses. We’ll talk to a startup owner, Anna, about the challenges of buying and selling rare and unusual objects online, and we’ll find out from experts how blockchain could be used to help her business grow. And we’ll be hearing from leading industry figures about how blockchain technology is being used today and where it’s heading in the future. So let’s get started.

Skip to 3 minutes and 23 seconds This week, we’re going to explore the key concepts of blockchain and the problems it can solve. We’ll dig into its origin and development, including the birth of Bitcoin. And we’ll look at the key players in the blockchain ecosystem, the relationships between them, and the best use cases for the technology that are being implemented today. But first, here’s something to think about. The device you’re using right now to watch this video is made up of lots of different parts. The screen, the body, the battery, the microphone, circuit boards, silicon chips… What journey did they make all the way up from manufacture through to safe delivery in your hands?

Why should you care about blockchain?

Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) have received a great deal of media attention since their creation a little over a decade ago. Despite this, there is still a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about what exactly blockchain and DLT are and how they can be applied.

Over the next four weeks, this course aims to help you gain an introduction to the main concepts behind blockchain and DLT and how they can be applied to business. You’ll gain a foundational understanding of the potential of this new emerging technology and how it can transform information coordination systems across the world.

In this video you’ll meet Thiago Earp who’ll be guiding your journey through this course. He’ll talk about how important the concept of trust is in our world, and how we can sometimes take that for granted. Blockchain is a technology that can help to create trust between users.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)

UCL Consultants