Blockchain: What the heck?

Blockchain is shaping up to be one of the big buzz words of 2018.  A lot of this fervor is due to the spectacular rise and fall of Bitcoin recently.  However, the staying power is fueled by investors consumed by the fear of missing out.  For example, just do a search for “investor blockchain” and see what we mean.

So… what is it?  Here’s the short answer:  it’s a ledger.  Yes, that’s right.  The world is freaking out over a freaking ledger.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Blockchain is a Ledger

Firstly, Blockchain is the software/technology/math system that keeps track of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.  Moreover, its purpose is to keep a ledger of all the transactions that happen with that currency.  Therefore, each transaction is a block. When completed, it gets stuck on the big master ledger, like a link added to a chain.

One Block of code per transaction added to the big chain of transactions.  Block-chain.

The ledger is 100% anonymous

Secondly, Ledgers can be either Public (bitcoin) or Private (used internally by a company).  No one knows who has the ledgers, it’s all a peer-to-peer (P2P) group – a distributed network of systems that are running hash calculations and creating blocks.

Decentralized Blockchain ledgers

Most importantly, no one has a master copy. With Blockchain, the majority rules: literally.

51% of the distributed network needs to agree on the validity of a transaction – essentially they must match the Hash created for the transaction. In other words, if a system does not match the ledger from the previous block its dumped. Now, they have to accept the group’s block as next in their chain.

Consequently, If some device’s copy of the ledger gets out of whack, it won’t match the majority.  In that case, the whole thing gets dumped and the device gets a new copy of the ledger from the majority.

Interested in finding out more about blockchain?

For beginners:

5 explanations for 5 different difficulty levels

For Lawyers


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