The Application of Blockchain Technology Beyond the Financial Services Industry

[About the author: Dawit Meskel is an IT architect. He was a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course in Oct-Dec 2018, and wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

Blockchain is a hot topic particularly in financial services as a disruptive technology, but will it fade away in the near future or revolutionise the sector, as seen by many who compare it to the internet age?

Blockchain technology has been around for a while now, nearly ten years, and the technology continues to mature at a phenomenal pace. The disruptive nature of blockchain has been recognised in the financial sector for some time; its first significant application is bitcoin, a crypto-currency that is not issued or backed by a central bank, but rather by consensus among a network of users described as ‘miners’.

Bitcoin was created as a medium of exchange to replace money, but blockchain is also making a substantial impact on other industries as we mature into a new digital age. The uses of the technology are now growing at a faster rate than anyone could imagine. Here are some examples which illustrate the possible use of blockchain technology in different industries:

  • Identity management to securely manage identity for persons and devices;
  • 2nd generation blockchains allow programs called smart contracts to run on the blockchain, enabling automated contractual agreement between persons or devices;
  • Documenting, tracking and verifying the authenticity of goods as they move through the supply chain industry.

These examples are the tip of the iceberg for what this technology is going to achieve in the coming years.

A sign of the times: the invisible effects of not being aware of your own emotions

[About the author: Nicolás Ventosa is a psychologist working on health inequalities. He was a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course in Oct-Dec 2018, and wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

There were certain moments in my life that left me wanting to understand “what happened?”. Most of them related to someone ending a relationship with me suddenly and without explanation, or not being able to talk about their feelings. Some others involved people fencing poor arguments in favour of hate speeches, even against themselves.

These moments have occurred throughout my life in different ways, but they left me great insight. The more I worked on my own issues, the more I understood. These people were not aware how their personal experiences were affecting their decisions. I was not aware of how my past experiences created the lens I was using to see the world.

And these people… they are normal people. Buying at your supermarket, working with you, and even going to the same gym. They could be a family member or a friend. In fact, you might be one yourself. People who lack emotional intelligence are everywhere and you might feel like stumbling with the same stone once you become more conscious of your own story.

Starting to understand what the word “emotion” means is a good way to spark the discussion. Pressing fast-forward, the word emotion could be broken into two important parts: “e”, for energy, and “motion”, for movement. So, emotions are energy in motion. They move around our body and impulse us to act. Emotions seek release. The problem is, when they are badly managed, emotions will cause us a lot of problems.

Plastic With Purpose

[About the author: Clare Furlonger is Marketing and Communications Manager for LeapFrog Investments. Clare was a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course in Oct-Dec 2018, and wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

If I were to light a cigarette in the central London office where I work, would it be ok?

It’d be pretty absurd right? I mean for one, I don’t smoke. But more to the point, it’s illegal. And more than that, it’s really socially unacceptable. We know the harmful effects smoking and second-hand smoke have on our health. And because of this, employers have a responsibility to prevent employees from smoking at work.

But this wasn’t always the case. 20 years ago, banning smoking in the workplace was considered a ‘radical’ idea, because smoking was everywhere. You could smoke not only in offices but in schools, in restaurants, on planes, in shops, in cinemas, in bars and pubs, in hospitals, on buses and trains, everywhere. It was normal. Just as using plastic is normal. It’s in all the places I just mentioned. We don’t even realise, because we are so conditioned to it surrounding us.

Don’t get me wrong, plastic is an incredible invention that has revolutionised the world and how we live. It has its purpose. But like smoking, plastic is harmful. To our health, economies, and the environment.

On the Path of the Climate Change Threat

[Note on the author: Sally Wang is an operations manager and coordinator, living and working temporarily in London though her family home is in the USA. She was a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course in Oct-Dec 2018. Sally wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

Heatwaves, floods and drought are striking us more frequently than expected. Our actions will determine our future and fate. Are we prepared?

Why are California’s wildfires so hard to fight? And why do farmers in Iowa have no water for their corn? Why are people seeing their insurance rates go up? It is clear that the impact of climate change is growing. But what is causing these changes? And how does the rising temperature affect the environment, and our lives?

A group of prominent global climate change scientists at the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) have been exploring this issue for decades. And their recent climate change report gives more explanation.