Businesses grew excited about blockchain in 2018, but the year 2019 will see actionable results from the technology, according to a recent report from Globant.

Blockchain, typically associated with securing Bitcoin transactions, is also a major force in protecting personal privacy data. Using digital signatures and cryptographic hashing, blockchain is an immutable public ledger tool offering users both transparency and autonomy in securing data.

SEE: How blockchain will disrupt business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)

Blockchain eliminates the need for private information to be centralized through a third party, allowing businesses to transmit data with more trust and security. Of the 650 senior-level marketing, IT and operations decision-makers surveyed by Globant, 71% said the presence of blockchain technology bolsters consumer confidence in the company’s ability to protect their personal data, the report found.

With blockchain predicted to continue developing, the report outlined the following five key blockchain terms that business leaders must become familiar with:

1. Asset

Assets are either tangible or intangible records used to describe the digital sphere. Assets represent a form of ownership used in higher level definitions, the report said. They can also have more attributes associated “off chain,” or outside the blockchain network.

2. Smart contract

Smart contracts allow blockchain users to view, validate, accept, or deny any changes to assets, the report said. The contract is a programmable system that determines who is permitted to change an asset, what they can change, and under what circumstances.

3. Nodes

Nodes are intrinsic to blockchain functionality, enabling cryptographic and transaction clearing, as well as establishing trust in the network. If users want to be involved in the network and view or alter assets, nodes must be present, the report said.

4. Ledger

A ledger is an accumulation of all transactions and alterations within a blockchain asset. Every transaction is marked down and can’t be changed, according to the report. A ledger is a record of all actions done on one asset, and requires permission to be viewed.

5. Actors

Actors are the participants that allow blockchain systems recognize users and let them see or modify an asset, the report said. Actors are essentially a group of users within an organization.

Check out this TechRepublic article to learn more about what to expect from blockchain in 2019.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Blockchain can be used within a business to keep a customer’s personal data secure. — Globant, 2019
  • For businesses wanting to use blockchain, they must become familiar with the terms asset, smart contract, nodes, ledger, and actor. — Globant, 2019

Image: iStockphoto/peshkov