The blockchain has received a huge amount of press over the past few years, and with good reason. It's not hyperbole to say this digital tool has the potential to transform financial transactions around the world. Much of the attention so far has been focused on how blockchain technology stands to revolutionize the financial services industry. But the innovations don't end there. Many companies are working on blockchain technology along their supply chain, to control sourcing together with their business partners.

First, let's step back and address the questions of what the blockchain is and what makes this technology so appealing for facilitating financial transactions. The blockchain is a type of database that records digital events between parties. It acts, essentially, like a sequential spreadsheet of transactions that gets updated on a global network of computers, in a way that is auditable. This global network is a distributed ledger in which data is encrypted as it's being written so that the transactions it contains can be safely verified by legions of other computers across the network.

The blockchain's distributed nature is an advantage. When financial transactions are made, new blocks are added to the globally stored chain, and each block is assigned a unique "hash," a seemingly random sequence of letters and numbers that represents a set of data. The hash makes a blockchain very secure because it's extremely difficult to adjust a well-designed hash back into its original text. The blockchain essentially produces a loophole-proof audit trail.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to Treasury & Risk, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical Treasury & Risk information including in-depth analysis of treasury and finance best practices, case studies with corporate innovators, informative newsletters, educational webcasts and videos, and resources from industry leaders.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Treasury & Risk events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.