Blockchain is a piece of software created to create decentralized databases.
The program is totally “open source”, meaning that anyone is able to view, edit and propose becomes its underlying code basic.
Whilst it has become increasingly popular because of Bitcoin’s growth – is in reality recently been around since 2008, rendering it around a decade old (ancient in computing terms).
The most important point about “blockchain” is that it was designed to create applications that no longer require a central data processing service. This means that for anyone who is by using a system build on top of it (namely Bitcoin) – your data will be stored on 1, 000’s of “independent” servers around the world (not possessed by any central service).
The way the service works is by creating a “ledger”. This journal allows users to create “transactions” with the other person – having the contents of people transactions stored in new “blocks” of each “blockchain” database.
With respect to the application creating the transactions, they must be encrypted with different algorithms. As this encryption uses cryptography to “scramble” the data stored in each new “block”, the term “crypto” describes the process of cryptographically securing any new blockchain data that an application may create.
To fully understand how it works, you must appreciate that “blockchain” is not new technology – it just uses technology in a slightly different way. The core of it is an information graph known as “merkle trees”. Merkle trees are essentially ways for computers to store chronologically bought “versions” of a data-set, allowing them to take care of continual upgrades to that data.
The reason this is important is because current “data” systems are might be described as “2D” – meaning they don’t have any way to track updates to the core dataset. The data is actually kept totally as it is – with any updates applied directly to it. Even though irritating wrong with this, it can pose a problem in that it implies that data either must be up-to-date manually, or his very difficult to update.
The answer that “blockchain” provides is basically the creation of “versions” of the data. Each “block” added to a “chain” (a “chain” being a database) provides a set of new deals for the data. This means that if you’re able to tie this operation into something which makes it possible for the transaction of information between two or more users (messaging etc), you are going to be able to create an totally independent system.
It’s this that we’ve seen with sites such as Bitcoin. Contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin is not a “currency” in itself; it’s an open public ledger of financial orders.
This public ledger is encrypted so that only the participants in the transactions have the ability to see/edit the data (hence the name “crypto”)… but in addition, the fact that the data is stored-on, and processed-by 1, 000’s of web servers surrounding the world means the service can operate individually of any banks (its main draw).
Obviously, problems with Bitcoin’s underlying idea etc aside, the underpin of the service is that it’s basically a system that works across a network of digesting machines (called “miners”). These types of are all running the “blockchain” software – and work to “compile” new transactions into “blocks” that keeps the Bitcoin databases as up to time as is feasible.
Whilst many people have blindly pledged support for blockchain, it’s actually got a number of vulnerabilities – most remarkably which it relies almost totally on the encryption methods utilized by its various applications. If some of these algorithms fails, or users are compromised at all, the complete “blockchain” infrastructure could suffer as an effect.