Blockchain is a record of events that are shared between many parties, and once information is entered, it cannot be altered as the downstream chain reinforces upstream transactions.

Any transaction or data exchange is recorded permanently. It does not reside on a single centralised server, in contrast, it is decentralised, managed by distributed nodes. All nodes have a copy of the entire blockchain, and by distributing copies and access, the chain cannot simply “go down,” or disappear making it secure. It is used in not only cryptocurrency applications but more recently as a data storage and record keeping.


  • Leverages consensus mechanisms to create permanent records of transactions through a distributed and decentralised network
  • Transaction data is permanently recorded in files called blocks
  • New blocks are added to the end of the chain and can never be changed or removed once accepted by the network
  • Does not need to involve a cryptocurrency, but can apply to any industry that may want to record chronological transactions over time

Blockchain in practice

Several countries including India, Dubai, The U.K., and Sweden are investigating the use of blockchain to store their national property records. When land records are stored on a blockchain, banks, governments, brokers, buyers, and sellers all can track properties with a single source of truth.

Aventus Medical transactions (i.e. surgery, X-Rays, a new prescription, etc.) could be viewed by other medical professionals with a proper access token. For example, a pharmacist could validate a prescription. Using blockchain records, info could be stored and shared more effectively without the risk of privacy breaches.

The Russian chain of an international fast food restaurant launched a cryptocurrency rewards program (based on Waves’ Smart Contracts) where one earns one coin per ruble spent in store. Once 1,700 coins have been accrued by a customer, they can be used for a free burger. The coins can also be transferred and traded online, allowing customers to either save their rewards or sell them to new buyers.

Using blockchain code, constituents could cast votes via smartphone, tablet, or computer, resulting in immediately verifiable results. Applicable in all elections, this could be especially helpful in nations that frequently have corrupt elections.

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Dick Fong

Partner, PwC Hong Kong

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Chun Yin Cheung

Partner, PwC China

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Director, PwC Hong Kong

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