Simply explained: Giants Behind Blockchain
NB: Blockchain, strictly for lazy beginners.
After reading this easy to understand article you will acquire knowledge about:
Are you aware that the almighty blockchain technology rests on the shoulders of other major technologies? Did you know that without these technologies blockchain would not exist today?
Blockchain experts (a healthy dose of pun intended) argue that it would be easier to understand how blockchain technology works by looking past its beginnings and focusing on the technologies that created it.
Fasten your seat belt; it is shaping up to be a fun ride in the technological world that existed before the era of blockchain technology.
The History of Blockchain: Where it all began!
The first blockchain for real world use was bitcoin blockchain. It was created in 2008 of a group women or men under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
The Bitcoin blockchain combined various computing techniques and technologies for its operation.
Fun fact: Some group of people claim that Satoshi Nakamoto may actually be an alien. what do you say?
Before studying these techniques and technologies, it would be best to briefly answer this questions:
What is blockchain technology?
Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology that uses data structures known as blocks to store data in an organized manner.
These blocks are linked together because they each contain information from the previous block, hence the name blockchain.
Satoshi Nakamoto created blockchain technology by combining various technologies and techniques in the computer field.
It would be best to understand blockchain technology by studying the technologies behind it. In this article we will look at the technologies and techniques surrounding blockchain and how they work.
The technologies and techniques that make blockchain possible are:
- Cryptography: This technology allows blockchains to securely store data, create chains between blocks, validate blocks, and create public and private keys that generate wallet addresses.
- Consensus mechanism: This technology allows nodes to agree on the validity of data stored on blocks. This technology also allows easy power distribution between computers on the blockchain network.
- Digital ledgers and documents: without digital ledger technology they would be nothing like a blockchain in today’s world.
- Peer to Peer network (P2P): this gave rise to the capability that allows computers to interact directly with themselves without the need for a central server (ie individual computers on the network act as both clients and servers).
- Mark trees: this technology enables easy organization of data stored in blocks on the blockchain.
Fun question: Does a Merkle tree look like a real tree?
Fun answer: A Merkle tree doesn’t look like a real tree, but it has characteristics similar to actual trees, such as leaves, Merkle roots, and branches.
All these technologies came together to produce the almighty blockchain technology.
Let us briefly look at these technologies, their importance, how they work on the blockchain, and great names behind them.
Our first stop is at distributed ledger technology: Digital Ledgers!
What are digital accounts?
Digital ledgers are electronic documents that store data and information. It is a data recording system that uses digital technology to track and record data.
Distributed digital ledgers are ledgers stored on several computers in a network. This means that the ledger is not stored in one central location, but in several locations.
Distributed digital ledger use cryptography and data structures (Mark trees) to keep data safe and organized.
Data stored online or on computers are typical examples of digital ledgers/documents. These accounts store data in all formats, from text to images and videos.
How are digital ledgers connected to Blockchain technology?
Blockchain store data in digital ledgers called blocks. These blocks are connected by containing previous block data. Each block contains data recorded in it.
Cryptography converts all data recorded on a block to one hash code. This hash code allows a newly created block to be linked to the previous block, resulting in the creation of blockchain.
Fun question: What is a hash code?
Funny answer: A hash code is like a magical secret code that hides ordinary messages. Regular messages are turned into these secret codes. Only people with the wand can cast the spell and read the hidden message.
This linking of blocks of data creates tamper-proof records of data.
Without the invention of digital documents, they would not be blockchain technology.
After looking at digital ledger technology:
Take a little break here. Rested? Let’s fire🔥 on.
Our next stop is Cryptography Technology: Hash Functions and Asymmetric Key Algorithm!
What is cryptography?
Cryptography is a Greek word meaning secret language.
Cryptography is a process that secures messages from an unwanted third party (ie, only the intended recipient can understand the message).
For example, if Peter wants to send a letter to Paul and doesn’t want people at the post office to take a look at the contents.
Cryptography makes this possible by changing the contents of the letter to nonsense text that when anyone but Paul looks at it, they will not be able to read or understand its contents.
But when the letter reaches Paul’s hands, Paul will know how to change nonsense text to actual content (plain text).
The scenario above shows that cryptography covers data privacy, data confidentialityand data security.
Blockchain user cryptographic techniques to secure all data recorded on the blockchain.
How is cryptography related to blockchain technology?
Blockchain technology uses many cryptographic techniques to secure data stored on it. The table below explains the use of 3 important types of cryptography techniques for blockchain technology.
Cryptography ensures that the data stored on the blockchain is secured.
Phew, what an exciting trip this was.
We are at the end of this article and it continues here where we will discuss the other three techniques Blockchain relies on.
But before moving on to the next article, let’s recap everything we’ve learned:
Blockchain technology uses digital ledgers called blocks to store data. This data is secured through cryptography.
Cryptography converts ordinary data into special codes. These special codes can only be decoded by people for whom the message or information was intended.
Without Digital ledgers or Cryptography, Blockchain would not store data securely in an immutable way.
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