BCC members learn about the potential of Blockchain technology

Guest speakers and representatives of the BCC and the PTA.
Guest speakers and representatives of the BCC and the PTA. / SUR
  • Fernando Valero, a representative of Grant Thornton, is convinced that Blockchain will revolutionise modern business practice

British Chamber of Commerce members attended a talk about the potential of Blockchain technology on Tuesday.

The event was held at the Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía (PTA) in Malaga, and was introduced by the BCC's Regional President for Andalucía, Derek Langley, who stressed the importance of commercial links between Britain and Spain.

He assured attendees that the Chamber, now 110 years old, will continue to facilitate biltateral trade in spite of uncertainty over Brexit, and highlighted the investment potential of Andalucía.

The guest speaker, Fernando Valero, who represents Grant Thornton, one of the world's largest consulting firms, gave a passionate talk on the capabilities of Blockchain technology.

In simple terms, he explained, a blockchain is a continuously growing list of records (blocks), which are linked together through a secure, encrypted connection.

When a new user joins onto the network, they will gain access to the information from the previous blocks, Valero told members.

It is a medium to record transactions in a way that is both legitimate and permanent.

Blockchain is unique in that it is decentralised, which means that data is not held centrally by one single party.

This makes it far more secure than alternatives and also means that it is far more resistant to the faults that many traditional data exchange networks have suffered, as it has no single point of failure.

Valero highlighted that the uses for the technology are numerous.

It is well-suited for recording information such as medical records, property ownership, and voting, among others.

Blockchain as a technology stems from Bitcoin, the world's first decentralised digital currency, originally launched in 2009.

Valero gave a brief overview of the process, which ensures that transactions can be made anonymously.

Anyone who owns a Bitcoin 'wallet' will have two separate codes. One will be a public code which they can give to those who need to send them money.

The other, the private code, will be used to authorise all payments made from their Bitcoin wallet.

Bitcoin's value has skyrocketed in recent months, and currently sits at nearly nine thousand euros.

The cryptocurrency has quickly been accepted as a new way of carrying out transactions. Major international firms such as Microsoft, Expedia and Starbucks already use it.

It has attracted a lot of interest in the business world, not just because of Bitcoin itself, but the potential of the Blockchain technology behind it.

Blockchain's importance has been recognised across the south of Spain. Representatives from Gibraltar Finance attended the World Blockchain Forum in Miami earlier this month.

The commerce minister, Albert Isola, commented that Gibraltar shows “leadership in this exciting and growing area of business”.

SUR in English recently reported that Drumelia Real Estate, a Marbella-based company, was the first on the Costa de Sol to offer a property in Bitcoin.

The company's owner, Sergey Sinichkin, said: “It's a safe payment method. In practice, it's like any other currency.”

However, Blockchain's uses go far beyond Bitcoin.

Ethereum for example is a smart contract technology that allows users to exchange money, property or shares without having to pay for the services of a middle-man such as a notary or lawyer.