Blockchain: Everything you need to know!

Anushka :)

What exactly is 'Bitcoin’, the word that’s trending so much all over the internet? Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that began in 2009. It was the first-ever blockchain-based cryptocurrency. You might be wondering now, what’s this term ‘Blockchain’?

Blockchain is nothing complicated, instead, it’s a facile way to consummate transactions without having to deal with any third party application or online wallets, et cetera. The ones who are into trading and stocks or into investing in cryptocurrency over the past decade might have aurally perceived this term. To keep it simple: Blockchain is a record book abaft the Bitcoin network. You can also think of it as a record-keeping technology. As I said the ones who are already into investing might be aware of the term ‘Blockchain’, not only these investors but we also all have auricularly discerned many facts about this emerging technology. Do you folks ever wonder how blockchain will transmute the way things work in the coming future and what precisely is blockchain?

Blockchain technology is incredibly popular but at the same time a boring topic to discuss. Well, let's change your perspective about this weird technology and scoop out some interesting facts about it. Blockchain is a trustworthy and transparent technology that does not rely on any certain authority. Sounds good right? It is also a reliable, permanent, and distributed framework. To date, we’ve just heard or related blockchain technology to cryptocurrency or bitcoin. Well, I would say that these are misconceptions surrounding the technology. This tech can solve a lot of problems we have in our society. To make this more clear to you and for your better understanding, Blockchain is based on interconnected blocks. These blocks are open to everyone and hence you can perceive that it is nothing but an online distribution system that stores information. That's all you need to consider right now.

Though blockchain technology was discovered way back in 1991 the use first began in the backend tech of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Do you know why blockchain technology is used in the Bitcoin network? As mentioned, blockchain tech is trustworthy and transparent but along with this, it is considered to be a secure one as well! Let me tell you why this Blockchain is so secure. Each block in this technology has three characteristics to look out for. Firstly, the block is used to store data that eventually stores the information we wish to keep safe. The type of data stored helps to vary the type of blockchain. For example, if A sends money to B is a transaction then the transaction that is done has the address of A (the sender), B (the receiver), and also the amount that is transferred. The next important characteristic is the hash. What's the hash now? Hash is a unique ID of the block, just like we have a unique face ID or fingerprints. The hash acts as a unique ID for every block and hence helps in easily identifying the block. The last characteristic is that every block along with its hash stores the hash of the previous block as well. This interconnection of the hashes and blocks eventually connects the current block to the remaining blockchain. I hope this has helped you to understand why this tech is so secure. There is one more factor that adds a feather to the cap and makes this technology more secure. A mechanism that enables every user to access every block of the blockchain, hence even the lack of a central authority here is pondered as an advantage. The blockchain works on the peer to peer (P2P) topology and hence is also known as a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

However, updating blockchain is a tough task as it can only be done by general agreement between the users of the system. Also, once data is entered or added to a block, it can never be erased. It's a write-once, append-many innovation that creates any exchange irrefutable and auditable. Blockchain is currently being blatantly promoted. This DLT has the potential to bring about change in many fields just as the internet did. It will promisingly change and bring development in emerging countries in various fields such as agriculture, money, energy, governance ...argh pretty much everything and anything. It's never too late to begin and acquire fame. Just look at blockchain technology, now at the age of 27 years it is being implemented in various aspects that can be beneficial for development in various fields; not only the small ones but the huge ones also. No doubt that in the coming decades this technology will transform the global economy. Let's wait, watch, learn and explore how Blockchain advances as it enters the third decade!

Sources:

  1. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blockchain.asp
  2. https://www.computerworld.com/article/3191077/what-is-blockchain-the-complete-guide.html
  3. https://foresight.jiscinvolve.org/wp/tag/blockchain

About the Author: Anushka Pansare is a Second Year Computer Engineering student at RAIT.