What is a Blockchain?

What is a Blockchain?
Photo by Shubham Dhage / Unsplash

Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transaction and tracking  assets in a business network. The ledger containing the transactions is  duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on a blockchain. Each block on the chain contains a number of transactions, and everytime a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant's ledger. Blockchain is a type of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) in which transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature called a hash. Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved.

Properties of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)

  • Programmable (i.e. smart contracts)
  • Secure (all records are individually encrypted)
  • Anonymous (the identy of participants remains anonymous or psydonymous)
  • Unanimious (all network participants agree to the validity of each of the records)
  • Time-stamped (a transaction timestamp is recorded on a block)
  • Immutable (Any validated records are irreversible and cannot be changed)
  • Distributed (All network participants have a copy of the ledger for complete transparency

Can a Blockchain be hacked?

If one block in one chain is changed, it will be immediately apparent it had been tampered with. If hackers wanted to corrupt a blockchain system, they would have to change every block in the chain, across all of the distributed versions of the chain. This means if a blockchain (i.e. Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.) constantly grows it makes it significantly more secure.


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