Blockchain: hype or hope? | Shell Global


Title: What is blockchain?

Duration: 3:15 minutes

[Audio:]

Background music commences.

[Graphic:]

Spinning globe swings in, location pins pop up around the world.

[Voiceover:]

Millions of transactions happen around the world every single minute.

[Graphic:]

Money slides in.

[Voiceover:]

We transfer money.

[Graphic:]

Screen divides into four and images of contracts, a house and a car appear in the other three corners. A question mark appears in the middle.

[Voiceover:]

Sign contracts. Sell houses and cars.

But how can we trust that a transaction has taken place?

[Graphic:]

Man appears.

[Voiceover:]

To guarantee that these transactions have actually happened we use a middleman.

A bank guarantees you sent the money.

[Graphic:]

More people appear.

[Voiceover:]

A lawyer verifies a contract.

A land registry confirms you bought the house.

[Graphic:]

Book slides in with pages turning.

[Voiceover:]

Middlemen keep a record of these transactions and allow us to trust the person on the other side.

[Voiceover:]

But middlemen are costly, can make mistakes, and are not always competent or trustworthy.

[Graphic:]

Pencil erases text and rewrites line. A page is ripped from the book.

[Voiceover:]

And the ledgers that are used to track transactions can be tampered with.

[Graphic:]

The book slams shut.

[Voiceover:]

So what if we could get rid of the middlemen and automate the transactions instead?

[Graphic:]

A lock appears around the book. Zoom out to show that the locked book is on a computer screen.

[Voiceover:]

Enter blockchain.

[Graphic:]

Zoom in to the book. It slides off to the left and new book opens, attached to the first book by a chain.

[Voiceover:]

Blockchain is a huge ledger of transactions made out of computer code that’s stored online.

Just like those held by middlemen, the blockchain ledger can hold a record of different transactions as well.

[Graphic:]

Zoom out to show a chain linking four books together. Underneath the chain each book has been given a date and time stamp.

[Voiceover:]

On a blockchain, transactions are stored in batches called ‘blocks’ that are linked together in chronological order.

[Graphic:]

Values start to pop up above the books and the timeline moves along to the left, adding more links from the right.

[Voiceover:]

The information in each block is encrypted, timestamped and given a unique identifier that’s known as a hash.

Because the hash of one block is determined by the hash of the previous block, the blocks are linked together in a chain forever. In principle, they cannot be changed, edited or deleted.

[Graphic:]

Zoom in on one book which opens to reveal many ones and zeros filling the pages.

[Voiceover:]

If you need to make a change you have to add another transaction block onto the chain. Leaving behind an uneditable record of all past transactions.

[Graphic:]

Zoom out to show a hidden figure standing behind the chain of books.

[Voiceover:]

But how can you guarantee that the person managing the blockchain doesn’t manipulate the data?

[Graphic:]

The figure silhouette becomes a man clutching a book.

[Voiceover:]

Well, while a middleman has full control over the ledger they manage, blockchain ledgers are not under the control of any one individual or institution.

[Graphic:]

The screen zooms out to show many boxes. Each contains a silhouette behind a chain of books.

[Voiceover:]

They are a distributed ledger…

…which means they are held across a whole network of computers.

[Graphic:]

Zoom in again to show a new book being written in.

[Voiceover:]

No one person can add to the chain without the approval of every other blockchain host.

[Graphic:]

Zoom out again to show the whole network of books. The new book is still open and being written in.

[Voiceover:]

When a new record is added, every participant must verify the input before it is accepted.

[Graphic:]

Ticks appear on all the other books, denoting that a new record has been added to all of them.

[Voiceover:]

This is known as the consensus protocol. Once the record has been added to the blockchain, every participant gets a full copy.

[Graphic:]

Zoom in to the chain of books to show an existing ledger being edited. The ledger is blue to indicate that it’s being hacked. The eraser removes some text and then rewrites new text in its place.

[Voiceover:]

This has a key benefit.

If data is stored across hundreds of locations then there isn’t a centralised ledger that a hacker can corrupt or change.

[Graphic:]

Zoom out from close up of book to show other blocks of book chains. One by one a red cross appears in each block to show that the new transaction has not been verified.

[Voiceover:]

A corrupt middleman might edit a record, but any record entered onto a blockchain is verified by all participants, hosted in many locations, encrypted and linked chronologically to all other existing records.

This makes it very difficult to forge records.

[Graphic:]

Man appears followed by a red cross to the right of him.

[Voiceover:]

Middlemen allow us to trust the transactions that we are conducting. But their records can be vulnerable and potentially tampered with.

[Graphic:]

Locked book appears on a computer screen followed by a green tick to the right of it.

[Voiceover:]

Blockchain is less vulnerable.

[Graphic:]

Locked books split off, joined by a web of lines showing that a blockchain network is decentralised.

[Voiceover:]

It is a decentralised, secure and distributed way to store data…

[Graphic:]

The web of books moves to the left and an unhappy lady appears next to it.

[Voiceover:]

…and supporters claim that it is more reliable than our current middlemen.

[Graphic:]

Contracts, a tracking icon and a light bulb icon appear, each with a lock next to them.

[Voiceover:]

And it is a technology that can be used to automate a whole range of transactions from signing contracts to tracking products to buying energy…

[Graphics:]

Fade to white with a Shell logo in the centre.



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