A blockchain is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. Wikipedia
Blockchain is an open-source, peer-to-peer platform that enables developers to design systems that work without many of the middlemen that we are accustomed to today. In the case of currency, the obvious middleman is your bank.
It works via a publicly verifiable registry of transactions where the parties involved can still maintain anonymity. At the moment, blockchain technology is primarily used for cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain’s advantages and disadvantages
Blockchain technology’s decentralised data storage and cryptography mean that it is secure and anonymous. Hackers, governments and natural disasters cannot, theoretically, destroy the network without putting global civilisation on pause. Its biggest cost is the vast computing power it requires.
A particular blockchain’s transaction verification time is vital to its economic success. Upgrading this over time can lead to divisions in the user base, which is a volatile time for investors.
What is blockchain for?
Cryptocurrency ledgers like Bitcoin are currently the most valuable use. But, the decentralized software application possibilities of blockchain networks are legion. Who really knows what will happen when making blockchain agreements via app or chat becomes as common as online banking?