Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continually growing list of records that can be verified using hashing techniques.

Blockchain implementations have a handful of defining characteristics, it’s:

  • write-once;
  • append-only system (meaning records in the database cannot be changed, records can only be added to the ledger);
  • distributed;
  • replicated in multiple locations;
  • crypto-secured through a public or private key infrastructure;
  • uses hashes.

The hash functionality is particularly important as each individual transaction is hashed into the chain, and each block, which contains a bunch of transactions, is also hashed, which links it to the previous block. The moment anyone tries to change a transaction, everyone who has access to the chain would know immediately that it’s been tampered with because the hash wouldn’t match.

This creates a platform where multiple parties can share data, but all have proof that past records have not been changed. It’s quite a remarkable platform, but it’s in the very, very early stages of maturity.


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