The past ten years have seen an upsurge in the awareness and the use of blockchain. This has been more prominent as a term used to define cryptocurrency. Despite the awareness, only a few know the meaning and what blockchain technology is all about. No doubt, knowing what blockchain technology really is would help you to appreciate the innovation better.
Blockchain Definition Simplified
The word blockchain is literally coined from two words: block and chain. The block refers to storage of information in a block, and the chain refers to a connection of information stored in different blocks, publicly. The blocks are linked together online, accessible to as many connected to the block. It also stores all data or information or activities carried out on a block or network.
The beauty of blockchain is that it cannot be controlled by an individual because the control lies in the hands of as many connected to the network or blocks. It is now over ten years that the technology has come to limelight through the introduction of cryptocurrency, which first premiered the application. Afterwards, the technology has seen applications in many facets of human society.
The first work on blockchain technology was done in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. This was designed to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with. Later, Bayer, Haber, and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several document certificates to be collected into one block. This was later perfect by an unknown person or group tagged Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, which birthed the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
Features Of Blockchain Technology
The blockchain technology is a decentralized, distributed and public ledger. It is utilized to record data on many computers. This makes altering of data difficult except all the systems used for recording could be accessed at the same time. This makes it more advantageous in comparison to a centralized system that can be altered or destroyed easily.
Also, the decentralized nature and the openness of recorded data on many computers gives the participants access to verify and audit transactions independently. The database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed time stamping server.
Block in blockchain refers to a compartment of recorded value transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree. Blockchains are typically built to add the score of new blocks onto old blocks and are given incentives to extend with new blocks rather than overwrite old blocks.
Block time refers to the scalability or the speed of a blockchain network to create a new block. This depends on the type of blockchain network. It could be five seconds or more or less.
Lastly, hardfork is a change of rules that guide a blockchain network or simply an upgrade of software of a blockchain to improve its function.