Lifestyle

I learned about Blockchain, so you don't have to

Blockchain, bitcoin, cryptocurrency - these are the new buzzwords in tech. Consider this your crash course
 

blockchain

Photo: 123rf

Blockchain is one of the buzzwords in tech right now, except no one knows what it is. So why is everyone talking about it and what is it exactly? What impact will it have on your life? An expert gives us the 101.

 

How new is blockchain?

Blockchain is finally making a name for itself at the age of 28, in no small part because of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. As a buzzword on the tongue of investors everywhere, blockchain stands to make business and government operations more accurate, efficient, and secure.

 

And blockchain is...

“Blockchain is a trustworthy transaction ledger that’s stored in a public distributed network. Blockchain technology was first outlined in 1991 by two researchers, Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta…

 

Snorz. Please explain it as if we were 12-year-olds.

blockchain

Photo: 123rf

“Simply put, blockchain is the framework for a new type of Internet. On this new platform, you can create giant ledgers of information (like a massive Excel spreadsheet) that are decentralised and visible to everyone. In those ledgers, one can record information – for example, your latest purchase from a fashion blog shop, music albums, a bunch of utility tokens you have been awarded (you have to go through a blockchain company). These ledgers are protected, which is called ‘immutable’, because no one can change the blocks once created, and they are supported on computers all over the world.”

All over the world?

“Yes. There’s a sitcom called Silicon Valley, which was even referenced by Bill Gates, about a small team of developers at an Internet start-up called Pied Piper. In one particular episode, their founder proclaims that he would like to build a ‘new Internet’ utilising the unused processing power of our everyday electronic objects – our phones, digital watches and microwaves.

“At a later point, the start-up needs server space, and their tech team has a stroke of genius that leads him to ‘cut up their data’ and store it in multiple refrigerators. Of course, the show is a parody so it exaggerates things, but like all great parodies it captures a lot of truths.”

 

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