What is Blockchain?
A blockchain is a public ledger of information collected through a network that sits on top of the internet. It is how this information is recorded that gives blockchain its groundbreaking potential.
Blockchain technology is not a company, nor is it an app, but rather an entirely new way of documenting data on the internet. The technology can be used to develop blockchain applications such as social networks, messengers, games, exchanges, storage platforms, voting systems, prediction markets, online shops and much more. In this sense, it is similar to the internet, which is why some have dubbed it “The Internet 3.0”.
The information recorded on a blockchain can take on any form, whether it be denoting a transfer of money, ownership, a transaction, someone's identity, an agreement between two parties, or even how much electricity a lightbulb has used. However, to do so requires a confirmation from several devices, such as computers, on the network. Once an agreement, otherwise known as a consensus, is reached between these devices to store something on a blockchain it is unquestionably there, it cannot be disputed, removed or altered, without the knowledge and permission of those who made that record, as well as the wider community.
Rather than keeping information in one central point, as is done by traditional recording methods, multiple copies of the same data are stored in different locations and on different devices on the network, such as computers or printers. This is known as a peer to peer (P2P) network. This means that even if one point of storage is damaged or lost, multiple copies remain safe and secure elsewhere. Similarly, if one piece of information is changed without the agreement of the rightful owners, there are countless other examples in existence, where the information is true, making the false record obsolete.
Why is it called Blockchain?
Blockchain owes its name to how it works and the manner in which it stores data, namely that the information is packaged into blocks, which link to form a chain with other blocks of similar information.