Understanding Blockchain Technology in its simplest form.
It’s no news that there has been crazy hype around the world about this “new” technology called Blockchain. It has been said to be, among other things, very revolutionary and could change the way we live and interact with our world. In the midst of all the excitement, there are still many who are finding it difficult to grasp the basic concept of Blockchain. In the midst of all the hype, it can be very difficult to find your footing as a newbie. This post is my attempt at providing you with the basic building blocks you need to begin your journey into the Blockchain world. If you’ve always asked the question “What is Blockchain?”, I hope the words below will help you understand the basic concepts.
First of all, I want you to understand that one of the most important feature of blockchain technology is the fact that whatever data has been inputed and stored on a blockchain cannot be tampered with.
At its core, a blockchain is a record of transactions (transactions can be anything from buying and selling, sending and receiving, voting, commenting, etc). Over time, we as humans have devised various means to keep records of happenings around us. Most times, we have to select/appoint a person or group of people to be in charge of populating and securing these records. Even though these methods have been seen to work, they are not without flaws. Some of the flaws of this method is that we have to trust the person/people in charge of our collective records, and it also makes it easier for such records to be tampered with due to it being in a central location.
Corruption, cheating, and all sort of vices mostly begin when there is a break in the chain of communication. Most times, activities done in the secret are prone to manipulation and even outright theft. This has plagued us for many years, right from the government down to the smallest businesses in our world; record keeping is of utmost importance.
Features of Blockchain
So remember I said the blockchain is basically a record of transactions which is the same function databases, and ledgers perform. Even notebooks are being used to record transactions in various parts of the world. So what makes the blockchain different?
This is one feature that sets blockchain apart from other forms of record keeping. Immutability means that whatever record is stored on the blockchain cannot be changed or tampered with. Note that almost anything can be stored on the blockchain and this means that proving ownership of things could become way easier than it currently is. Immutability of the Blockchain is made possible using cryptography.
Every transaction carried out on a public blockchain is there in the open for everyone to see. Remember I said that “corruption, cheating, and all sort of vices mostly begin when there is a break in the chain of communication”. With the blockchain, everyone can see every transaction as they happen and so there’s no opportunity for this “break in chain of communication” to occur.
Instead of being stored in one central location, copies of the blockchain are stored on computers in several locations around the world. This means that before anyone can tamper with the data stored in a blockchain, they will have to gain access into all the computers that hold a copy of the blockchain. This makes the blockchain extremely difficult to hack.
Why is everyone excited about blockchain?
The thought of having a record of transactions that is transparent and cannot be tampered with is a very exciting one. I want you to think about every current system where records are being stored, any type of record, and try to figure out what flaws exist in these systems. If you really do this, you’ll find out that Blockchain technology can be applied in almost every aspect of our lives and it has the potential to change the way our world currently functions. This is why we are excited about blockchain.
My next post will attempt to show you why you should be excited about Blockchain.