Blockchain101

Blockchain is the backbone of the public network used for exchanging bitcoins over the internet. It is one of the many innovative ideas presented by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous inventor of bitcoin in his whitepaper on Bitcoin. Blockchain allows entities which do not fully trust each other to exchange value, messages and documents without the need of a third part such as a Central Bank or a Financial Network for monitoring and authorization. It provides a platform for faster, secure, immutable and encrypted transactions. Additionally the platform benefits from blockchain features such as auto-reconciliation and the ability to process transactions even when your node is down. These attributes of blockchain have caught the attention of modern organizations. Numerous enterprises are designing and developing use cases around cross border payments, supply chain financing and trade, secure document sharing, identity management and asset transfer.

Technology and Functional Experts estimate that by the year 2025, Blockchain would be a mainstream technology. Capital markets, Supply Chain ecosystems, Retail and Commercial Banks, Healthcare and other major industries would be on permissioned or permission-less platforms, leveraging the benefits of this technology to carry out seamless transfer of assets in a more cost efficient yet secure manner. Add to this the inbuilt benefits that most blockchain network provides, such as immutability of data, ease of accounting, trust-less exchange of documents, lowered cost of infrastructure setup, access to multiple participants and you have a technology that is ready to usher in the future.

Thus it makes sense for any modern enterprise to look at adoption as a major part of its long term strategic goals right now. Starting 2017, blockchain is poised for a steep growth in research and implementation by financial institutions, manufacturing companies, healthcare, regulatory bodies and governments. The Bank of England issuing cryptocurrency of its own and Disney experimenting with “Dragonchain”, Disney’s version of a permissioned blockchain, illustrate the same.



The Technology

A blockchain is a shared distributed ledger database that maintains a continuously growing list of data records secured from tampering and revision. It consists of data structure blocks -which hold exclusively data in initial blockchain implementations and both data and programs in some more recent implementations— with each block holding batches of individual transactions and the results of any blockchain executable. Each block contains a time stamp and a link to a previous block.

A blockchain implementation consists of two kinds of records: transactions and blocks.

Transactions

Transactions are the content to be stored in the blockchain. Transactions are created by users who wish to record information in the blockchain. In the case of crypto currencies, a transaction is created any time a crypto currency owner sends crypto currency to another user.

Blocks

Blocks record one or more transactions. A transaction’s presence in a block confirms when and in what sequence it occurred. Blocks are created by validating nodes which have the authority to create blocks in the network. Different blockchain platforms follow different mechanisms for validation transactions and creating nodes