What is Blockchain?
The blockchain is an undeniably ingenious invention by a person or group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. It opens a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer.
The internet itself has proven to be durable for almost 30 years. It's a track record that bodes well for blockchain technology as it continues to be developed. Blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet.
Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared and continually reconciled. Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet, this is the basic understanding of the blockchain.
This is a way of using the network that has obvious benefits. The blockchain database isn't stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable. No centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet.
With a blockchain, many people can write entries into a record of information, and a community of users can control how the record of information is amended and updated, like Wikipedia.
Originally devised for the digital currency, Bitcoin, the tech community is now finding other potential uses for the technology. Bitcoin was invented in 2008. Since that time, the Bitcoin blockchain has operated without significant disruption.
A notable drawback of blockchains is that their distributed nature demands constant computational power in many multiple locations, and all the on-going electrical power that entails.
Indeed, one day we may look back on this time as a transitional period when everything changed. Blockchains could become the norm for data records sooner than we think.