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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 11, 2016 • Issue 16:04:01

Readers Speak

What's the deal with blockchain?

I've heard that companies are researching the possibility of using blockchain technology for identification and authentication. What is blockchain technology and what's the difference between identification and authentication?

Devin Rombly, Merchant Level Salesperson


A blockchain is a distributed database that consists of a continuously growing list of data records. Each record refers to previous items on the list, which hardens the list against tampering and revision. The first application of block chain technology was in the public ledger of bitcoin transactions. Its use in bitcoin inspired other cryptocurrencies, as well as distributed databases designed for other uses such as identification and authentication.

Identification and authentication are often used synonymously, but they are distinct. Identification occurs when a person claims, by presenting a user name and password, driver's license, etc., to have a certain identity to obtain access to a system. Authentication occurs when a system determines a person presenting identification to obtain access is, indeed, who he or she claims to be.

The Green Sheet published a feature titled "The blockchain phenomenon" on Dec. 14, 2015, in issue 15:12:01. The article delves into several uses for blockchain now being explored, including data management, activity tracking, authentication, reconciliation and auditing. Some innovators see the technology as being more efficient than current systems and thus more capable of deterring corruption and fraud.

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