What is blockchain?
“blockchain”, initially “block chain”, is a term that is now widely used. It is essential to understand the concept behind it. Conceptualised around ten years ago, blockchain technology initially required the availability of a digital protocol and encryption, which enabled the development of a transparent and decentralised ledger where all transaction blocks were securely stored.
The Bitcoin protocol, which was used to issue the eponymous coins, was the pioneering blockchain language that heralded the advent of other blockchain languages developed since 2008.
Considering the many advantages of a decentralised and distributed ledger as regards cost-reduction, lower central counterparty risk, and greater digital security in the transmission and storage of information, blockchain quickly piqued the attention of financial market players.
This is, in fact, how blockchain was defined (i.e. a decentralised and secure protocol liable to reduce the number of intermediaries) in French law as early as 20161. It was then reviewed in 20172, thereby strengthening its pioneering role as regards ledger-keeping for the financial sector.
It would be too simplistic to reduce blockchain, and its high potential, to this one economic sector. Its numerous possibilities, such as the implementation of self-executing smart contracts or the financing of entrepreneurial projects via initial coin offerings (ICOs), pave the way to a wide variety of other potential developments. These opportunities also increasingly represent a strategic stake for all economic sectors that will be forced to review their business model (e.g. distribution and transactions).
1) Order 2016-520 of 28 April 2016.
2) Order 2017-1674 of 9 December 2017.