A positive about this technology, is that no middle man is needed in the whole process, as it is a computer that essentially adds all the relevant content to the ledger, and maintains its integrity. This fact is actually one of the main reasons that the banks are starting to become attracted to this new technology. Using a blockchain could drastically reduce costs for banks, therefore naturally almost every major player in the financial service industry is interested in it. However, due to the vast number of transaction that are taking place at one time, the computer often struggles to keep up to date with this, and it can sometimes take up to 30 minutes to confirm that the transaction is in the ledger. In comparison to a credit card transaction, this could be considered a long time.
The technology essentially allows for transactions to be both anonymous and secure at the same time. Then through code and cryptography, every single transaction that has ever been made on the network is recorded in a tamper proof public ledger. It is this underlying framework that could go above and beyond simple transactions, and soon could be seen for birth and death certificates, or even insurance claims.
There are currently many different currencies using the blockchain technology in order to make a transaction. Currently the original Bitcoin is the most popular, however many others are starting to catch up and make their mark in the cryptocurrency world. Those such as Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitshares, Dash, Dogecoin, Stellar and MadeSafeCoin are all large competitors for Bitcoin, and who knows if they will overtake the original in popularity in the future.