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What’s Hot & Cool? #23: Blockchain

We’re removing a stumbling block to understanding Blockchain.

What’s happening? Researchers call blockchain a disruptive technology with high potential to change business operations as we know it. But what the heck is it? This is the best explanation of it that we’ve seen to date. In short, it enables you to trust the people you’re doing business with and, as Mike Bullock writes, it enables you to “buy, sell, and transact with a stranger.”

Because it works without a middle man,  no banks, brokers or payment processors are needed to move money.

Why should you care? Women in business and tech need to understand what blockchain and cryptocurrency are and what they can do to streamline operations.

Who’s leading? Roya Mahboob was the one of the first female technology CEOs in Afghanistan at the age of 23. Now she is founder of New York-based non-profit Digital Citizen Fund, developed to teach digital literacy skills to young girls in Afghanistan, including lessons in blockchain and cryptocurrency. So far, the company has established 11 computer labs and two media centers training over 10,000 students — but she’s not stopping there. In the next five years Mahboob plans to set up 40 training centers and wants to build an online marketplace for women to sell their products online, with bitcoin as one mode of exchange. She told Cisco’s Technology News Site: “Blockchain and bitcoin can play an important role in terms of empowering women in marginalized communities…It’s helping them to transfer money faster in a secure way and lower cost. In a country like Afghanistan, due to security and cultural challenges, women in some areas aren’t able to open a bank account. So blockchain is very important.”

What can you do? Want to get wiser? Check out this CNN Money infographic on bitcoin and watch this 3-minute video on blockchain.