We’ve probably all heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies recently, but do we really fully understand the underlying and disruptive technology that they rely on? In this article we will talk about the future of trust: Blockchain!
Back to 1982 and a brief history of blockchain
· In his dissertation in 1982, cryptographer David Chaum presented a blockchain-like protocol for the first time.
· Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described additional work in 1991.
· Haber, Stornetta, and Dave Bayer increased the efficiency of the architecture by including Merkle trees in 1992. Since 1995, their document certificate hashes have been published in The New York Times every week under their company Surety.
Following the global financial crisis of 2008, an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto created an unprecedented document: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system. The first conception of decentralized blockchain was based on this innovative and enhanced design. The terms block and chain were used independently in Nakamoto’s original paper until 2016, when they were merged into one phrase, blockchain. And this fueled a complete new era in technology and probably the most significant revolution after electricity and internet…
What if we try to sum up blockchain in a single sentence?
“Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, continually updated and immutable ledger that records the history of transactions in a chronological order.”
So what is blockchain and why is it so unique?
Let’s start with the structure of the name:
Block: the file is made up of data blocks + Chain: each block is connected to the previous block, forming a chain.
Blocks store the hashed and encoded records of valid transactions in a hash tree. A hash is a string of letters and numbers, that serves as an unique fingerprint for every block in the blockchain. The blockchain is made up of a sequence of blocks, each of which contains the hash of the previous block. This repeated process is performed to ensure the integrity of the prior block to the genesis block, which is the first block.
When a transaction in a block changes, the block’s hash changes as well. When the block’s hash changes, the next block displays a discrepancy with the previous hash it stored. As a result, blockchain has the distinct characteristics of being tamper-proof.