Blockchain Technology and Its Uses in the Tourism Industry

Blockchain Technology and Its Uses in the Tourism Industry

Yunus Topsakal (Adana Alparslan Türkes Science and Technology University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1989-9.ch002

Abstract

The public and private sectors will undergo a significant transformation with the use of blockchain technology, and this potential of blockchain technology will be influential in all areas of life. In addition, blockchain technology can help ease the integration of the Internet of Things, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence applications. The question of how such a technology that is in the process of development will be applied in areas such as taxation, notary operations, and banking, arises simultaneously. Studies related to blockchain technology have mainly been carried out in the fields of finance, logistics, banking, and education. However, there is a paucity of studies on blockchain technology in the tourism industry which has an important role in the global economy. Therefore, the potential of using blockchain technology in the tourism industry is evaluated in this chapter. For this purpose, the features, advantages, and disadvantages of blockchain technology are explained. The potential uses of blockchain technology in the tourism industry are then discussed.
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Introduction

“Blockchain” was mentioned in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original bitcoin article published in 2008. Although “blockchain” was not used in this article as a word, a technology component underlying crypto coins was defined there as a series of data blocks chained together cryptographically (Nakamoto, 2008). For that reason, bitcoins were the first application of blockchain technology (Iansiti and Lakhani, 2017).

Nowadays, with the production of various crypto coins like bitcoins and the exchange of currency through stock markets, the rate of investing in crypto coins is increasing rapidly all over the world. The basis of crypto coin exchange is a decentralized validation mechanism. Bitcoin (Nakamoto, 2008), crypto coin, and blockchain concepts are often confused with each other. A bitcoin is a crypto coin that is independent of a central government and provides payment anywhere in the world with low transmission costs without the need for the approval of a central authority, providing certain privacy to its owner (Mukhopadhyay et al., 2016). Blockchain technology, on the other hand, can be defined as a distributed ledger, a management system that is widely used in bitcoin transfers today. Blockchain infrastructure is not only created for crypto coin transfers.

A blockchain is a simple, clear, transparent, distributed, and time-stamped global account book, data file, or simple database that can be understood by everyone. Since 2009, with the release of bitcoins, all transactions are digitally preserved (Çarkacıoğlu, 2016). With the popularity of crypto coins such as bitcoins, blockchain technology, which includes crypto coins, has become remarkable. Blockchain applications are among the developments that are predicted to have a profound impact on business life in the near future (Soylu, 2018).

Structurally, a blockchain is a series of information blocks that are securely chained. New blocks are defined when participants create new blocks of information or change existing information about an asset (for example, transaction ledgers, status changes, new market prices, or new owners being entered). After the first block, the newly created valid blocks are securely chained to the previous trusted block. Thus, reliable audit evidence is created by guaranteeing the reliability of the blocks (Hong Kong Monetary Authority, 2016).

The main goal of this chapter is to examine the concept of blockchains, which provide a secure exchange of numerical values and serve as the basis for crypto coins, and to determine possible application areas in the tourism industry in the near future. In this context, information is given about blockchains and the features, advantages, and disadvantages of blockchain technology. The areas in which blockchain technology is used are examined and the existing and possible future usage areas for the tourism industry are determined.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Consensus Protocol: A process in computer science used to achieve agreement on a single data value among distributed processes or systems.

Blockchain: A simple, clear, transparent, distributed, and time-stamped global account book, data file, or simple database that can be understood by everyone.

End-to-End Communication: A design framework in computer networking.

Industry 4.0: A new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data.

Bitcoin: A crypto coin that is independent of a central government and provides payment anywhere in the world with low transmission costs without the need for the approval of a central authority, providing certain privacy to its owner.

Crypto Coins: A series of data blocks chained together cryptographically.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Protocol: A decentralized communications model in which each party has the same capabilities and either party can initiate a communication session.

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