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Today's blockchain use cases and industry applications

Blockchain technology is a shared database that keeps track of a given collection of transactions. Groups of transactions comprise a block, the contents of which can never be changed. Each block is timestamped and joined to the filled block before it with another block joined behind it when it becomes filled with data, forming what is known as a blockchain. Its most common use is as a distributed ledger wherein all participants agree on each transaction's "truth" and verify the legitimacy of the transaction before it becomes a permanent record in a block.

"The best use cases, at least for now, are actually not general but instead are specific to a company, industry or function," said Jitin Agarwal, senior vice president of engineering at 84.51˚, the data science company of supermarket giant Kroger. "Organizations should dig deep into their operations to understand which of the five key blockchain-related benefits -- transparency, governance, security, public access or immutability/audit -- is most valuable."

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