A blockchain is a huge public ledger that holds the data of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been made. It is continuously growing as numerous “completed” blocks are being constantly added to it with a new set of recordings about transactions. These blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear and chronological order, so it is fully transparent, just like in an ordinary ledger.
The blockchain is an original and resourceful invention by the founder known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. Since it was created in 2008 and implemented the following year, Blockchain has evolved into something much greater. As it allows digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created perfect conditions for having a new type of internet, different to the one we know today. At the beginning, the idea was to create it only for the digital currency purposes, for Bitcoin. Nowadays, the tech community is trying to find other great purposes of this system for the worldwide technology, and it can be said that they’re doing a good job so far.
Bitcoin was known as the “digital gold” because until today the total value of this cryptocurrency came close to $9 billion US. Blockchains can make other types of digital value as well. Many people ask if Blockchain was a totally new invention or not. In general, the answer would be “no”. Blockchain technology is a combination of already proven technologies, but those are applied in a totally new way. It was invented as the orchestration of three technologies: the Internet, private key cryptography and a protocol governing incentivization.
A distributed database
Information which is held on a blockchain exists as a shared and constantly updated database, so anyone can access and see the current status. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, which means that the records it holds are totally public and easily to verify. There is no centralized version of this huge information on the network, so the chances of hackers corrupting it are minimal. It is hosted by millions of computers simultaneously and the whole data it contains is accessible to anyone on the internet, not just Bitcoin holders.
By storing blocks of information that are identical across the network, the blockchain just cannot be controlled by any single entity. Blockchain is also a revolutionary system and invention because it has shown no single point of failure so far, which cannot be said for any other system. Since the creation of Bitcoin in 2008, the Bitcoin blockchain has operated without any major disruption. Just to give you a better idea of this system, we’ll take the Internet as example. The Internet has proven to be durable for almost 30 years, which is a good a good record, regarding the date of creation of blockchain technology and its continuous development.
The blockchain network is in some sort of a state of consensus, as it automatically checks in with itself every ten minutes. The network simply reconciles every transaction that happens in ten-minute intervals, and each group of these transactions is known as a “block”.
Here are two most important characteristics of Blockchain technology:
The data is embedded within the network as a whole and by definition it is public and verifiable.
It cannot be corrupted
Trying to alter any unit of information on the blockchain would mean using an enormous amount of computing power in order to override the entire network, which is still not possible.
By design, the blockchain is a decentralized technology. It means that every operation that occurs on it is a function of the network as a whole. By creating a new way to verify transactions, the traditional commerce system as we know today could indisputably become useless and forgotten. Stock market trades are almost simultaneous on the blockchain.
A global network of computers uses blockchain technology to jointly manage the database that records all Bitcoin transactions that ever happened. Bitcoin is managed by its network, and not any central authority. Decentralization means the network operates on a peer-to-peer basis, free from the authority.
Blockchain in healthcare and other industries
As many experts have predicted, blockchain technology is slowly entering numerous areas of science and industry. The thing that was recently mentioned the most is the ability of blockchain technology to help the healthcare system and electric car industry.
For example, PokitDok and Intel are currently developing the Blockchain platform DokChain which will be installed on Sawtooth Lake with a goal to secure the decentralized and transparent infrastructure for healthcare companies, offering them more efficient platforms.
As using autonomous vehicles is rapidly approaching, the idea that blockchain could connect automobiles and other IoT devices, is slowly starting to get some serious attention. Even though during the last year the main attention was on smart houses, Blockchain startups are thinking more and more about the potential of connected cars.
The co-founder and CEO at Oaken, John Gerryts said that this decade of 21st century was the perfect to begin building this stuff out. Gerryts and his team are actually developing a mechanism that would allow autonomous vehicles to refuel, recharge and park on its own. In addition to that, these cars would also pay for those services.
Interesting facts about Blockchain
60% of people think that Blockchain is the biggest tech invention since Internet.
45% think that it could end the traditional banking for good.
35% of banking executives still haven’t heard about this technology.
20% of bankers expect Blockchain to become mainstream in the next 5 years.
42% think consumers will adopt Blockchain for personal use.