What is blockchain?

Crypto for Beginners
> 3 min. read
What is blockchain?

Blockchain technology is at the heart of Bitcoin's and other cryptocurrencies' attractiveness and usefulness. Blockchain is, as its name implies, a collection of interconnected blocks or an online ledger. Each block comprises a collection of transactions that each network member has independently validated. Every new block must be validated by each node before being confirmed, making forging transaction histories nearly impossible. The contents of an online ledger must be agreed upon by the whole network of a single node, or computer, that keeps a copy of the ledger.

The purpose of blockchain is to enable for the recording and distribution of digital data without the ability to modify it. In this sense, a blockchain serves as the foundation for immutable ledgers, or transaction records that can't be changed, erased, or destroyed. Blockchains are also known as distributed ledger technology because of this (DLT).

The blockchain concept was first presented as a research project in 1991, and before its first popular use in Bitcoin, in 2009. The creation of numerous cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and smart contracts has skyrocketed the use of blockchains in the years after.

Decentralization is one of the most essential concepts in blockchain technology. The chain cannot be owned by a single computer or entity. Instead, the nodes connecting to the chain form a distributed ledger. Any type of electronic equipment that saves copies of the blockchain and keeps the network running is referred to as a node. Every node has its own copy of the blockchain, and for the chain to be updated, trusted, and confirmed, the network must algorithmically approve any newly mined block. Every action in the ledger can be easily reviewed and examined since blockchains are transparent. A unique alphanumeric identification number is assigned to each participant, which is used to track their transactions.

According to experts, blockchain technology can benefit a variety of sectors and activities, including supply chain management and online voting and crowdfunding. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and other financial institutions are experimenting with blockchain technology to reduce transaction costs by simplifying payment processing.

Advantages of blockchain technology are:

- High-quality data

- It provides durability and high level of security

- It has big integrity, as well as transparency

- Longevity and reliability

- Simplified ecosystem

- Improved traceability

Disadvantages of blockchain technology are:

- Complex signature verification process (which can also be an advantage)

- Uncertain regulations

- Large energy consumption

- Privacy concerns and no control for enterprises

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