What Is Blockchain? Webopedia Definition
Blockchain refers to a type of data structure that enables identifying and tracking transactions digitally and sharing this information across a distributed network of computers, creating in a sense a distributed trust network. The distributed ledger technology offered by blockchain provides a transparent and secure means for tracking the ownership and transfer of assets. Blockchain Technology in Bitcoin and at the Enterprise Level Initially used as the transactional technology behind the cryptocurrency (or digital currency) Bitcoin , blockchain technology has started to gain traction in the enterprise as well. As is the case with Bitcoin, blockchain enables enterprises to make and verify transactions over a network without the need for a central authority. In addition to tracking assets and the transfer of assets throughout supply chains , enterprises are also looking to use blockchain to electronically proffer and enforce contracts. Blockchain has gained considerable traction in recent years as Bitcoin's use has increased and the technology has become more mainstream with companies. In fact, according to a study released in May 2016 by Pegasystems, Cognizant and Marketforce, many global financial services retailers see blockchain as having the potential to be the most significant technological innovation since the Internet. Blockchain uses cryptography to create a distributed trust network wherein each participant on the network is able to manipulate the digital ledger of transactions securely and without requiring a central authority. In a sense, a blockchain serves as a global spreadsheet or ledger that anyone on the network can view at any time. All the transactions are verified, cleared and recorded in a block that is encrypted and saved periodically and is linke Continue reading >>
Blockchain Explained... In Under 100 Words
Blockchain explained... in under 100 words It's what we do that makes the difference I recently attended an industry seminar where the concept of the Blockchain was explained. At the end of the session, walking out of the lecture room I heard one of the attendees say to a colleague "I'm still not sure what exactly Blockchain is...". Many of us know that Blockchain is a topic that is hot at the moment. It's a topic that is disruptive. It's a topic that is accelerating. But now imagine your elevator stops between floors and you are asked "Great overview - but can you explain to me how it really works?". Here is my attempt to explain the original intent of the Blockchain in fewer than 100 words. You (a "node") have a file of transactions on your computer (a "ledger"). Two government accountants (let's call them "miners") have the same file on theirs (so its "distributed"). As you make a transaction, your computer sends an e-mail to each accountant to inform them. Each accountant rushes to be the first to check whether you can afford it (and be paid their salary "Bitcoins"). The first to check and validate hits REPLY ALL, attaching their logic for verifying the transaction ("Proof of Work"). If the other accountant agrees, everyone updates their file This concept is enabled by "Blockchain" technology. Yes - but as a concept, not much more. Complexities come in the implementation and the journey to realize value from such implementations. The above example will, of course, be overly simplistic for some but may be a starting point for others. In a traditional environment, trusted third parties act as intermediaries for financial transactions. If you have ever sent money overseas, it will pass through an intermediary (usually a bank). It will usually not be instantaneous (tak Continue reading >>
What Is Blockchain?
All of a sudden, blockchain is everywhere. The technology, which was invented in 2008 to power Bitcoin when it launched a year later, is being used for everything from copyright protection to sexual consent ( yes, really ). Considering the daily churn of news around blockchain, not to mention the skyrocketing value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that rely on the technology, you may be wondering what the hell blockchain actually is. Its actually a pretty simple concept, though things quickly get more complicated the harder you look. With that in mind, here are a few different ways to wrap your head around blockchain, from straightforward definitions to far-reaching metaphors. To start, heres the simplest explanation with no metaphors or hyperbole. In the language of cryptocurrency, a block is a record of new transactions (that could mean the location of cryptocurrency, or medical data, or even voting records). Once each block is completed its added to the chain, creating a chain of blocks: a blockchain. Because cryptocurrencies are encrypted, processing any transactions means solving complicated math problems (and these problems become more difficult over time as the blockchain grows). People who solve these equations are rewarded with cryptocurrency in a process called mining. If you own any cryptocurrency, what you really have is the private key (basically just a long password) to its address on the blockchain. With this key you can withdraw currency to spend, but if you lose the key theres no way to get your money back. Each account also has a public key, which lets other people send cryptocurrency to your account. Information on the blockchain is also publicly available. Its decentralized, meaning it doesnt rely on a single computer or server to function. So Continue reading >>
What Is A Blockchain, And Why Is It Growing In Popularity?
What is a blockchain, and why is it growing in popularity? Bitcoin was the start, but as a wise man once said, you ain't seen nothing yet. by Alistair Dabbs - Nov 6, 2016 2:00 pm UTC Last year, Ripple Labs, creator of the virtual currency XRP, was fined $0.7 million (~540,000) by the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for violating regulations concerning money laundering. Some observers cite this as the moment cryptocurrencies shaved off their startup hipster beards, put on a tie, and went mainstream. Being fined by a regulator means that youre part of the financial services industry at last. Given that the first and most famous cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was launched back in 2009, it has taken the wider industry a relatively long time to warm to it. But now suddenly everyone is talking about Bitcoins underlying blockchain technology as a disruptor of potentially massive proportions: Sweden is trialling a new land registry that uses a blockchain , dozens of startups spanning numerous sectors are poking around at possible uses, and importantlypolicy makers such as the European Parliament have voted in favour of a more hands-off approach towards blockchain tech regulation . So, whats the connection between Bitcoins and blockchains? And why the renewed interest in the latter? A blockchain is a ledger of records arranged in data batches called blocks that use cryptographic validation to link themselves together. Put simply, each block references and identifies the previous block by a hashing function, forming an unbroken chain, hence the name. Put like this, a blockchain just sounds like a kind of database with built-in validationwhich it is. However, the clever bit is that the ledger is not stored in a master location or managed by any particular body. Instead, it is s Continue reading >>
Blockchain: What Is It And What Does It Mean For Development?
Blockchain: what is it and what does it mean for development? Around $1bn was invested into blockchain in 2016, but how can the technology most famous for Bitcoin be used in development and humanitarianism? As an emerging technology, blockchain enthusiasts are hopeful it could be the next big development disruptor.Photograph: althearab/GuardianWitness Blockchain: what is it and what does it mean for development? Around $1bn was invested into blockchain in 2016, but how can the technology most famous for Bitcoin be used in development and humanitarianism? Last modified on Friday 6 October 2017 08.13EDT Blockchain is a digital ledger that provides a secure way of making and recording transactions, agreements and contracts anything that needs to be recorded and verified as having taken place. However, uniquely, rather than being kept in one place like the more traditional ledger book, the database is shared across a network of computers. This network can encompass just a handful of users, or hundreds and thousands of people. The ledger becomes a long list of transactions that have taken place since the beginning of the network, getting bigger over time. Blockchain runs on specialised computer software that operates behind the scenes, automatically distributing information to the database as new transactions are made. Most individual users will not see a blockchain performing and this instantaneous nature means there is little to no window of time for someone to alter a transaction before it is recorded on to the ledger. Blockchain software is an area of experimentation and in June, a market assessment estimated that $1bn would be invested in blockchain technology in 2016 alone. A blockchain database consists of blocks and transactions. Blocks contain batches of transactio Continue reading >>
Bitcoin, Blockchain Splits And What It Means For Business
Bitcoin, Blockchain Splits And What It Means For Business Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Blockchain was one of the technologies which I predicted back in January to break through in 2017. The distributed, consensus-dependent ledger technology is really just a new form of database but due to its trustless and encrypted nature, one which could potentially revolutionize many aspects of finance and business. Virtual currency Bitcoin is undoubtedly the most visible implementation of the technology right now its rapid growth in value has made it attractive to speculative investors but businesses are increasingly accepting it for goods and services. Recent developments in the bitcoin economy an economy currently valued at close to $70 billion have demonstrated some of the fundamental characteristics of blockchain-based applications. And although it is still early days, they appear to go some way towards validating the claims of blockchain evangelists that the platform represents a robust and truly decentralized medium for logging data transactions. (For those who are completely new to this, my Complete Beginners Guide to Bitcoin provides an overview of the important ideas) Blockchain apps and Blockchain-based currency such as Bitcoin in their purest form are decentralized and governed by consensus there is no controlling authority (such as a bank or government) which can interfere with supply or disrupt Bitcoin-driven commerce (except, in the case of governments, by legislating). One way to think of it is that Bitcoin is entirely deterministic it is governed by mathematics and encryption and adjudicated by the consensus of its users. These rules were put into place when the cryptocurrency was unleashed on the world in 2011. Crucially, however, built Continue reading >>
Video: Blockchain Defined - Journal Of Accountancy
Why CPAs need to get a grip on blockchain , June 13, 2017 So the difference between bitcoin and blockchain is that blockchain is the underlying technology that delivers the cryptocurrency of bitcoin. So if you think about how we receive emails or file transfer or websites, those are delivered by different computer protocols that are layered on each other to provide those services. So, for instance, most people are aware that a computer has an IP address. Thats the internet protocol. So the internet protocol kind of defines how a computer transmits information back and forth. So that protocol is part of the stack that gives us email and gives us websites. So you can think of the blockchain as kind of like being the IP protocol. IP protocol gives us services such as email where the blockchain protocol ultimately gives us an asset such as bitcoin or other transactions. So let me explain kind of how a transaction works. So if I am doing a transaction on a blockchain, and I want to send you an asset, then that asset is sent with information, my encryption key. That transaction is actually validated, you know, by the blockchain, and its then added to the chain in the form of a block, and those transactions happen about every 10 minutes. You can think of the blockchain as a secure, decentralized database or decentralized ledger, and the transactions are written to the database. There are multiple blockchains, so there is not just one, there isright now there is the bitcoin blockchain, which is what most people associate with blockchain, but other blockchains are being developed for other uses. The most difficult thing right now for people, for the general public is separating bitcoin from blockchain. So blockchain is the technology, and its so much bigger than the cryptocurre Continue reading >>
Blockchain Explained In Plain English
Understanding how blockchain works and identifying myths about its powers are the first steps to developing blockchain technologies After spending two years researching blockchain and the evolution of advanced ledger technologies, I still find a great spectrum of understanding across my clients and business at large about blockchain. While ledger superpowers like Hyperledger, IBM, Microsoft and R3 are emerging, there remains a long tail of startups trying to innovate on the first generation public blockchains. Most of the best-selling blockchain books confine themselves to Bitcoin, and extrapolate its apparent magic into a dizzying array of imagined use cases. And I'm continuously surprised to find people who are only just hearing about blockchain now. It can seem that everyone is talking about blockchain and ledger technologies, but the truth is most people are not yet up to speed. No one should be shy to ask what blockchain is really all about. Many blockchain primers and infographics dive into the cryptography, trying to explain to lay people how "consensus algorithms", "hash functions" and digital signatures all work. In their enthusiasm, they can speed past the fundamental question of what blockchain was really designed to do. I've long been worried about a lack of critical thinking around blockchain and the activity it's inspired. If you want to develop blockchain applications you only need to know what blockchain does, and not how it does it. So I've written a report that explains how the blockchain works . It examines the founding principles of blockchain, describes its properties, and dispels common myths about its powers. The explanation below is an abridged excerpt from the report. Blockchain is an algorithm and distributed data structure for managing electr Continue reading >>
A Primer On Blockchain (infographic)
Theres been a lot of noise recently about bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. Some of it is hype, but some of it points to important forces in the financial services industry. So what does it all mean? Lets start with some quick definitions. Blockchain is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency (among other things). Bitcoin is the name of the best-known cryptocurrency, the one for which blockchain technology was invented. A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar, but is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds. Blockchain also has potential applications far beyond bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Blockchain is, quite simply, a digital, decentralized ledger that keeps a record of all transactions that take place across a peer-to-peer network. The major innovation is that the technology allows market participants to transfer assets across the Internet without the need for a centralized third party. From a business perspective, its helpful to think of blockchain technology as a type of next-generation business process improvement software. Collaborative technology, such as blockchain, promises the ability to improve the business processes that occur between companies, radically lowering the cost of trust. For this reason, it may offer significantly higher returns for each investment dollar spent than most traditional internal investments. Financial institutions are exploring how they could also use blockchain technology to upend everything from clearing and settlement to insurance. When a technology moves so quickly, its dangerous to sit on the sidelines. Were watching blockchain move from a startup idea to an established technology in a tiny fraction of Continue reading >>
Blockchain Definition | Investopedia
Blockchain: The Backbone of Finance's Entire Future A block is the current part of a blockchain, which records some or all of the recent transactions. Once completed, a block goes into the blockchain as a permanent database. Each time a block gets completed, a new one is generated. There is a countless number of such blocks in the blockchain, connected to each other (like links in a chain) in proper linear, chronological order. Every block contains a hash of the previous block. The blockchain has complete information about different user addresses and their balances right from the genesis block to the most recently completed block. The blockchain was designed so these transactions are immutable, meaning they cannot be deleted. The blocks are added through cryptography, ensuring that they remain meddle-proof: The data can be distributed, but not copied. However, the ever-growing size of the blockchain is considered by some to be a problem, creating issues of storage and synchronization. The blockchain is perhaps the main technological innovation of Bitcoin. Bitcoin isnt regulated by a central authority. Instead, its users dictate and validate transactions when one person pays another for goods or services, eliminating the need for a third party to process or store payments. The completed transaction is publicly recorded into blocks and eventually into theblockchain, where its verified and relayed by other Bitcoin users. On average, a new block is appended to the blockchain every 10 minutes, through mining . Based on the Bitcoin protocol, the blockchain database is shared by all nodes participating in a system. Upon joining the network, each connected computer receives a copy of the blockchain, which has records, and stands as proof of, every transaction ever executed. I Continue reading >>
Blockchain | Definition Of Blockchain In English By Oxford Dictionaries
A system in which a record of transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network. we can actually have a look at the blockchain and see evidence of what's going on All Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions are publicly listed in the blockchain. Cheating by forging records in the blockchain of namecoin is going to be exceedingly difficult because of merged mining. Although the odds of a temporary confirmation not being confirmed on the Blockchain are minuscule, Litecoin eliminates the problem entirely. There is a small window where transaction IDs can be 'renamed' before being confirmed in the blockchain. The transaction must receive a number of confirmations from other users who've located the transfer on the Bitcoin's master ledger, the Blockchain The blockchain is managed by a decentralized network that verifies and puts a time-stamp on payments. Bitcoin's blockchain, a public ledger that record transactions, holds much potential for other kinds of cryptographic verification rather than just transferring bitcoins, he said. The blockchain tracks only pseudonymous Bitcoin addresses, not users' real names or other identifying details. Due to a lack of custom software tools to analyze the blockchain, tracing a chain of transactions can be like following a set of muddy footprints in the rain. Every transaction they make is recorded in a ledger called the blockchain, held by every currency owner, and each time a transaction is made, the ledger is updated. Continue reading >>
Blockchain - Wikipedia
For other uses, see Block chain (disambiguation) . Blockchain formation. The main chain (black) consists of the longest series of blocks from the genesis block (green) to the current block. Orphan blocks (purple) exist outside of the main chain. A blockchain    originally block chain   is a continuously growing list of records , called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography .   Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block,  a timestamp and transaction data.  By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. Harvard Business Review defines it as "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way."  For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority. Blockchains are secure by design and are an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance . Decentralized consensus has therefore been achieved with a blockchain.  This makes blockchains potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records,   and other records management activities, such as identity management ,    transaction processing , documenting provenance , or food traceability .  The first blockchain was conceptualised in 2008 by an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto and implemented in 2009 as a core component of bitcoin where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. Continue reading >>
What Is The Meaning Of Blockchain ?
The blockchain is the public transaction ledger at the heart of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. By establishing a chain of trust, it prevents tampering and keeps transactions secure. A blockchain is a complete, public list of all transactions in a given cryptocurrency. Because this ledger is distributed to everyone, falsified copies can be easily rejected. To make a Bitcoin transaction, you must first download an up-to-date copy of the entire chain. After the initial setup, your Bitcoin client will continue to update its local ledger as transactions occur. Since this chain is simply a ledger of transactions, its necessary to process its entirety to know anyones account balance. This happens during the initial setup of the Bitcoin client. When someone wants to send currency, they create a message that contains three pieces of information: Input, which lists the transaction(s) where the sender got the Bitcoins they are about to transfer. The number of coins to send. This is stored as a decimal value. Transaction messages are signed with the senders private key and then sent out to be processed by miners. Miners receive new transactions, turn them into blocks, and permanently add them to the blockchain. They typically receive a small fee for performing this service. Each block is stored with a hash that is generated from its data and the hash of the previous block. This makes it possible to prove by induction that the entire chain is free of tampering. Alice received 3.6 Bitcoins from Chris last week, and she wants to send 1.5 of them to Bob. After Alice enters the amount to transfer and the recipients address, her Bitcoin client constructs a message with the following information: Input: The hash of the transaction in which she received 3.6 Bitcoins from Chris. This Continue reading >>
5 Applications Of Blockchain In Business And Economy
5 Applications of Blockchain in Business and Economy The blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions that records all the exchanges of cryptocurrencies in a decentralized manner. Blockchain allows the digital information to be distributed over a network without the need of any centralized mechanism. This technology was devised by a person or a group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. Originally created to empower the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, this technology has now become a center for innovation. But the meaning of blockchain is still not clear to every person. Here we will discuss the meaning of blockchain and the ways to leverage it. To understand blockchain you need to first understand a block. A block is a ledger that records some part or whole of a transaction. For a transaction to be recorded it needs to be verified by nodes (computer connected to blockchain network). Once recorded, it cannot be altered which brings security and stability in the blockchain. To verify a transaction every node needs to solve a complex problem and in return of solving that problem, it is rewarded with bitcoins. Every block contains the hash of the previous block. Each time a block is completed it is linked to the previous block and a new block is created. This forms a chain of blocks that are known as blockchain. Thus, a blockchain contains records of all the transactions from the most recent to the oldest. All the information in blocks is encrypted to prevent any alterations to the data. Cryptography ensures that the information in the blocks can be distributed but not copied. Read More: Bitcoin vs Blockchain - What is the difference? The most common application of blockchain is obviously in cryptocurrencies. There are 100s of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and E Continue reading >>
A blockchain stores information about transactions between users or other changes to its database (conducted without intermediaries) in a way that they can be tracked by any user forever for maximum transparency Some participants, the miners, gather information about transactions and compile them in so-called blocks, using huge amounts of costly energy, and thereby secure that the order of all transactions ever made is immutably documented in the de-central database of which any user has a copy on his device. In exchange they receive precious bitcoin as incentive for protecting the network from corruption. Within this network, users can transfer values and store information without a chance of them being altered or contested ever again. The documentation of a transaction happens fast instead of taking several days, like e.g. a foreign bank transfer does. No government and no corporate in the world could ever influence or sabotage a blockchain network the size of the Bitcoin blockchain, as only the majority of participants can decide changes to the rules. Intentional falsification of data by a group of people is virtually impossible. For a comprehensive summary of what blockchain is and how it works, click here . FinTech Development and Business Newsletter. Take it, its free! Continue reading >>