Blockchain and bitcoin, are they pretty much the same? No, they are not. Initially, blockchain isn’t about money at all. It’s about data storage and data protection. What is it? Let’s look it up.
“Blockchain is essentially a distributed database of records or a ledger of all digital events that have been executed and shared among participating parties.”
“a distributed database”, “digital events”… Frankly, how much of this have you understood? If everything is clear, then – bye, see you next time. If not, stay tuned, I’m gonna tell you the whole story of how people started to feel the demand for transferring, sorting and protecting data and why the blockchain has become the apex of the evolution of those processes.
HOW DID IT ALL START?
When one of the first men on Earth came out of his cave, he discovered a big and unfriendly world he had to live in. Practically, at that very moment, he felt the necessity to memorize a lot of different things.
Imagine, he and his friend went into the wilderness to kill some mammoths and pick some mushrooms. The friend was unlucky to take a wrong one. You, the happy survivor would never eat that, but what about the rest of the family? This is how the human language was born, the first medium to deliver the message.
Actually, it was the language that has made us humans.
People started to divide into tribes. The tribes began to compete with one another. The knowledge became the property which had to be secured. At that historical point, languages started to divide. Obviously, our ancestors hadn’t planned it to happen that way, but eventually, first tribal languages became the earliest medium of encryption, for often, people couldn’t get what their neighbors were saying.
Some languages were specifically designed to confuse aliens, so as not to let secret data leak out. For instance, in late nineteenth century, Polish criminals developed the language called Grypsera. They mixed up words from Yiddish, Russian, Ukrainian, and German. Back then, people around were usually not properly educated languagewise, so, Polish thieves could just come to somebody’s house as plumbers and discuss their pop and drop freely. Thug life.
The social evolution had outrun Mother Nature, and soon, the human brain couldn’t cope with the amount of information it had to deal with. The first civilization known to handle that issue were the Sumerians. Many thousands of years before Christ, they started to write things down. These clay tablets are recognized as the first books on the planet.
Actually, the earliest of them were neither poems nor plays. They represented accounting records. That was the first attempt to store data.
At that very moment, people learned how vulnerable the data was.
In middle ages, when the fragile clay was substituted for parchment, accountants started to double all the valuable information in two different sheets, so as not a figure was lost – just in case anything…well, medieval happens.
You get it, right? Yep, the first backup copies.
Year by year, human population was going up as well as the amount of information around. Once, people started to understand that well stored and sorted data is much easier to deal with. We began to use catalogs. All the data they comprised was recorded in ledgers.
Actually, many things around us have ledgers as their basis. Ledgers lay down ownership, register debits and credits, establish privileges, restrict access, and contain the names of kids in schools and prisoners in prisons. Simply put, every company is a ledger which documents property issues, labor relations, output, income – literally, everything.
NOW, TO THE COMPUTER ERA
Computers have made everything simpler. As soon as data was processed with machines, there was no more need for huge, expensive, and inconvenient paper storages. Every next year, digital media got smaller and safer. It was enough to click to create a backup.
But in the early 1980s, the first computer viruses jeopardized the whole idea of data safety. So, researchers had to invent a new protective means.
By the early 1990s, nearly every currency in the world had turned into a digital ledger. If anyone tried to tamper them, the whole nation could go bankrupt.
Suppose, you’re going to develop a secret terrorist network whose members practice ritual kick-asses and combat training, and collect a fucking pile of weapons and explosives so as to inflict a holocaust in the most secured state in the world. Apart from that, you have the plans to ruin its economic system to dust by, let’s say, erasing all the debt records.
But, if the interbank credit database is secured with the blockchain, the holocaust will be the only option left.
SO WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?
The blockchain is literally a ledger which consists of a chain of blocks. The blocks contain the information you can access for reading, but it’s totally secured against tampering.
Every block contains two hashes, some kind of digital keys, which are generated automatically. The first one is the key of the present block. The second one is the copy of the hash of the previous block of the chain. If anyone tampers the data in the block, its hash changes. In that case, it’s no longer correspondent to the hash of the next block. Therefore, you’ll have to tamper the data in all the blocks, and there are many, a great many of them.
What is more, the whole amount of data is distributed among thousands of users. Every user stores his copy of the chain. To verify any change in the data, all the copies have to match. If they don’t, sorry, access denied.
Now we see that the blockchain is a kinda digital safe. Even in theory, chances to break in are close to zero. What do you usually store in safes?
No wonder this revolutionary technology is revolutionizing the whole financial system right now, in front of our eyes. But let’s talk about it next time.
Bye for now! Do not forget to read other posts, and stay tuned!