What The Heck Is Blockchain? Why Vermont Lawmakers Are Betting On New Tech As A Future Moneymaker

Apr 10, 2018

Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency. These and other buzzwords make headlines in the world of finance, but underlying it all is a new piece of financial technology called blockchain. And state lawmakers are betting this new technology could be Vermont's next moneymaker, much like the state's captive insurance market.

Touted as a secure and uniquely tamper-proof form of digital bookkeeping, blockchain is often explained as "a distributed ledger." Payments, debts, and other transactions are recorded on the ledger, multiple copies of which are saved across a decentralized or "distributed" network. Nonetheless, an exact definition of blockchain can be difficult to pin down

But the security inherent in having redundant copies of transactions and the ledger make hacking a blockchain-based network difficult if not impossible. That's why blockchain is being touted as a new, secure way to handle everything from record keeping, real estate transactions, contracts and insurance.

Jeremy A. Hansen, associate professor of computer science at Norwich University, and Rep. Jean O'Sullivan (D-Chittenden County), House sponsor of a blockchain-based bill, join Vermont Edition to break down blockchain and explain how the technology could be used in Vermont.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.