So Just What is Blockchain?
Goldman Sachs defines Blockchain as a Digital Record or a transaction that can be utilized to transfer money, goods or secure data. Designed specifically to protect the storage of information. Think about blockchain as a distributed database that maintains a shared list of records. These records are called blocks, and each encrypted block of code contains the history of every block that came before it with timestamped transaction data down to the second. In effect, you know, chaining those blocks together.
A blockchain is made up of two primary components: a decentralized network facilitating and verifying transactions, and the immutable ledger that network maintains. Everyone in the network can see this shared transaction ledger, but there is no single point of failure from which records or digital assets can be hacked or corrupted. Because of that decentralized trust, there's also no one organization controlling that data, be it a big bank or a tech giant like Facebook or Google. No third-parties serving as the gatekeepers of the internet. The power of blockchain's distributed ledger technology has applications across every kind of digital record and transaction, and we're already beginning to see major industries leaning into the shift.
Microsoft and IBM are using their cloud infrastructure to build custom blockchains for customers and experiment with their own use cases, like building a worldwide food safety network of manufacturers and retailers. On the academic side, researchers are exploring blockchain applications for projects ranging from digital identity to medical and insurance records. Blockchain is the data structure that allows Bitcoin (BTC) and other up-and-coming cryptocurrencies such as Ether (ETH) to thrive through a combination of decentralized encryption, anonymity, immutability, and global scale.