The blockchain, once created by Satoshi Nakamoto, can be called a new type of internet or a digital ledger. First used to track the digital currency Bitcoin it’s now finding an increasing amount of uses.
What makes blockchain stand out is that it’s a distributed ledger where all the information is shared and continually reconciled. There’s no one place, where it’s stored. Instead it’s available on millions of computers all at once.
The blockchain has been compared to a shared Google spreadsheet or Wikipedia in the way all the information is publicly available and shared. In terms of security it’s rather like a row of safes, where each one has a special key that only the owner knows. Each safe on the blockchain is called a block and they’re all linked together so you can’t change one’s content without influencing all the others in the row.
The nature of the technology makes the blockchain truly public and difficult to corrupt. To corrupt the network one would need to override the entire network, which would require a huge amount of computing power.
The decentralization aspect of the network means that millions of computers are connected on a user to user basis and all that moves through the network has to be verified by all. Such mass collaboration has already opened up the blockchain for much more than just Bitcoin transactions.
Uses for the blockchain:
- Smart contracts
- File storing
- Protection of intellectual property
- Land title registration
- Clearing and settlement for banks
Blockchain is able to record the information near real time, cheaply and safely, making it a definite competitor to traditional systems that we have in place.