Blockchain technology has been all over the news in recent months, mostly focused on Bitcoin and the many debates concerning “cryptocurrency”. In months to come we are likely to see more of a debate also on other uses of Bitcoin, begging the question: What is it? One interesting source I found recently is this one.
In a nutshell, a blockchain is a decentralized public ledger that, according to Investopedia, “allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping”. Coindesk, which calls itself a “global resource on bitcoin and digital currencies”, likens the blockchain to Wikipedia, where no single entity controls the information published therein.
The similarity, however, ends there because, unlike Wikipedia, a blockchain doesn’t use a master copy that is controlled or updated by a single authority. Instead, every node or computer connected to the system gets a copy of the blockchain. Each node, then, updates the record independently, but everyone still arrives at the same result. More importantly, if a node breaks down or disappears, the blockchain still lives via the other nodes that already downloaded it.
For more information on blockchains, this interactive guide by Goldman Sachs is worth checking out.
Another source worth checking out: Huffington Post in this insightful article.