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The Ascent of Blockchain-Based Trading Platforms

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Recently, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Norway based Statoil in conjunction with ABN Amro, Societe Generale, and ING, announced that they had started developing an energy trading platform based on blockchain technology. The venture will also involve Mercuria and Gunvor Koch supply and trading companies. This big oil and big finance collaboration is the latest in a series of moves by leading players in the technology and finance industries to harness the security and transparency offered by blockchain technology.

Why blockchains are big news

In a nutshell, blockchains are continuously updated and growing record. Each block usually contains a hash table linking the present block to its predecessor, a timestamp, and the current transaction details. Due to continuous and sequential timestamps, encryption, and hash table links, blockchains are highly resistant to change and interference. Typically, blockchains are stored in a distributed system similar to the ones used by cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The distributed storage creates multiple redundancies since all interested parties can maintain a copy of the transactions. This open ledger approach makes it easy to detect and correct transaction record tampering.

When used as a basis for a distributed ledger trading platform deployment, blockchains are usually maintained by a peer to …

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