Remember Bitcoin? This unique digital currency stole the spotlight back in 2009 when it became the first decentralized currency that allowed peer-to-peer network transactions for both virtual and real-world goods and services. Since then, more than 4,000 Bitcoins have been mined, accounting for over 186,000 transactions. Though the price has fallen from $1,216 in 2013 to $434 many are expecting the technology to surge again in the year ahead.
Even more interesting than Bitcoin itself is the technology behind the new currency, known as blockchain. It’s essentially a database capable of overseeing the exchange of money or anything else of value, such as stocks, titles, bonds and more. The fact that its use extends far beyond the realm of digital currency has many companies eager to acquire patents covering related technologies.
Bank of America, for example, recently filed 10 Bitcoin-related patents, including a Cryptocurrency Transaction Payment System and others that promote the use of blockchain technology to measure risk and fraudulent activity. The corporation is also a participant in the Open Ledger Project, led by the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit technology trade association based out of San Francisco. With the help of other industry leaders, like JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and IBM, the organization hopes to advance blockchain technology by finding new and innovative applications for it in all industries.
The Linux Foundation expects the project to "help identify and address important features and currently missing requirements for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers that can transform the way business transactions are conducted around the world." In doing so, many predict that Bitcoin will make a big comeback, with some even estimating prices of over $3,000.