Computers, Technology

Blockchain Technology 101: What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is many things. It’s easiest to understand it as a digital ledger of transactions that continuously grows. But, it’s also a kind of unique encryption. When online information is given blockchain encryption, changing it, altering it, or adulterating it in any way is impossible, because it has an exact ledger of anything done to it. In this way it is unique from other types of digital information. This makes it useful, as unalterable data is its own currency in the age of “fake news.” Blockchain data operates similarly to a shared spreadsheet on a piece of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. Any changes made to the encrypted data will appear to anyone who views that data. It tracks exactly where it is, when it arrived, and how long it stayed.

Despite all this tracking, it also manages to increase anonymity of the data’s users. The blockchain system has tracked and verified the data, so who used it isn’t relevant. Thus, you can use it privately. It won’t monitor you, only the way you interact with the information.

Blockchain Background

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Blockchain has a slightly mysterious history. A group, or maybe a person, named Stoshi Nakamoto created it. She, he, or they devised it with the intent of trading the digital currency BitCoin. For that, it proved mostly effective. Then, it began to grow.

Blockchain encryption makes all data more secure. With it, data can be traded, exchanged, handed out, given away, bought and sold, and yet remain completely unaltered. Since BitCoins are nothing but data, this level of encryption makes that data as good as cash. That’s the theory, anyhow. Hacking issues have caused difficulties for the cryptocurrency world, but the blockchain operation is still sound. Having bugs is part of being an emerging technology.

Though created for cryptocurrency trading, blockchain encryption doesn’t stop there. It works for all data. It guards copyright information, medical records, government documents, and your terrible poetry from 8th grade about Tina who sat behind you in Mrs. Sharon’s class. Put blockchain encryption on any information, and it lives forever in its original form. This tech is altering the way the internet, and the way the internet of things, work.

How Blockchain Works

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When blockchain data moves from one computer to another, it is exactly the same, because it doesn’t exist on one computer or the other, but on both. It is similar to a shared document, with all changes tracked. The data becomes a living record with every movement logged and every alteration recorded. It knows when it’s idle, where it’s resting, and how long it’s in a particular place before it moves again. That data also exists on a whole network of other computers with the sole job of verifying that the data remains the same.

Blockchain encryption creates automatic redundancy by creating multiple records held in multiple locations. Storing data in a single location becomes a thing of the past, and makes it almost impossible to tamper with information, because it’s everywhere. Since ownership and information are a part of every business, there’s no one who can’t benefit from using this new technology.

Blockchain Example

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Bitcoins are the simplest example of blockchain tech. Consider a Bitcoin as an actual piece of physical currency in this case. As a BitCoin moves, it tracks every place its been in an unbreakable chain of information. A “blocked chain,” is the popular mnemonic device. It proliferates anywhere it goes, marking any attempts to alter it, change it, or taint it. It retains links to other computers, an a centralized location, keeping the exact data spread out.

Blockchain data works similarly to the serial numbers on a bill. Those numbers prevent tampering or counterfeiting. Bitcoins or anything else with this type of encryption has a similar guarantee. A chain of custody follows it everywhere to ensure it’s safe, secure, and can spend as easily – and as anonymously – as cash.

In the case of the Bitcoin, the currency is nothing but a serial number of data. That data has been deemed to be worth 1 Bitcoin, backed by the inalienable encryption of blockchain tracking.

How Blockchain is Useful

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Blockchain technology’s utility is as large as information itself. Research will be easily verified. Information will have a guarantee. It helps writers and artists copyright their material digitally, creating a chain that shows it is truly their work. Blockchain encrypted currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum allow money to move across borders and boundaries, or pass between complete strangers securely. The public will have easy access to news that can’t be falsified or altered to suit any political agenda. Advertisers will need to prove the legitimacy of their photos. It also allows for greater collaboration between parties. It shows on a document who wrote what, when, and outlines every alteration and edit they made. False reporting will become a thing of the past.

Any questions about blockchain, or interesting ways you use it, please post them below. Love and hate should be directed to the staff@theultramodernist.com. Thanks for reading!

If you would like to read more, we suggest Blockchain Technology Explained. It’s a deep dive into the evolution of the cryptocurrency, decentralized banking, and how this type of computing could be as big or bigger than the internet.

Anyone hoping to get into mining cryptocurrency should check out this intensive guide from The Motley Fool.

 

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