DATA DOCTORS

What is blockchain, in layman’s terms?

Feb 24, 2018, 6:05 AM
(Twitter/@Sweetchain)...
(Twitter/@Sweetchain)
(Twitter/@Sweetchain)

Q: Can you give me a layman’s explanation of what exactly blockchain is?

A: With the hype surrounding crypto currencies continuing to grow, more people are hearing about the underlying technology known as blockchain.

At the core of blockchain technology is a publicly-shared “immutable digital ledger” – meaning that it’s essentially a tamperproof record keeping technology.


Ledgers

Ledgers have been part of how humans trade since nearly the beginning of our species and continues to be how we record transactions.

Until blockchain, ledgers were generally controlled by a single entity and could be manipulated without others knowing.

Us old-timers also remember the time-consuming, error ridden manual record-keeping on green ledger paper for sales transactions or inventory tracking – which is why VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet – was such a game changer.

With only one copy of any ledger, it’s easy to manipulate the data when no one is watching.

Today’s private ledgers, whether it’s in banking, real estate, taxes or health care requires us to ‘trust’ the organization that controls it.

This middle-man model is also how so many global organizations have become so powerful – we’re required to use them in order to execute a transaction.

This network of privately controlled ledgers that don’t talk to each other is also why so many transactions take so long to execute.

Immutable digital ledgers

This stranglehold on so many data sets is what prompted the creator of blockchain to develop this publicly visible, distributed ledger platform.

Imagine a ledger that is shared in real-time with millions of others that shows every transaction in a continuously growing list of transactions.

To further secure this public ledger, encryption keys are created for each entry that ties to the next entry, which forms a chain of interconnected entries to the ledger.

Any attempt to modify an entry would result in the “breaking of the chain,” which would clearly be noticed by the millions of other connected ledgers that had the authentic entry and the offending computer gets ‘kicked’ from the ledger.

This decentralized ledger also eliminates the middleman, therefore transactions become one-to-one, instantaneously – which is why so many large gate keeper companies are downplaying the value of this technology.

Much more than bitcoin

The original focus was on our financial systems, leading to the now famous Bitcoin which uses blockchain to track who owns what in the virtual currency, but there are far more interesting possibilities.

The fashion industry was one of the first to see the value of blockchain as a way to fight counterfeiting.

The health care industry is looking to blockchain to help in electronic health record management, data security, interoperability and more.

Initiatives in real estate, government, education, insurance and one of the most compelling uses — identity management, which could be the gateway to secure voting system.

There’s a bit of a gold rush mentality for those that truly grasp the revolutionary nature of this technology, so expect to hear lots more about blockchain for many years to come.

Data Doctors

(Facebook Photo/Otter Voice Meeting Notes)...
Data Doctors

Here are some tips for using free voice recognition software

Today’s voice recognition technology is far from perfected, but if you’re willing to spend the time training yourself, it can be useful.
3 days ago
Jumper cables are jammed to a car battery. Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa (Photo by Christophe Gateau...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Here are tips for buying car battery jumper packs

The starting price of these battery packs is so cost-effective, it’s kind of a no-brainer to have one for each car in your family.
10 days ago
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)...
Data Doctors

Here is how long different iPhone support services last

Different versions of iPhone support services can last longer than others, so here's a list of how long repair, iOS and app support lasts.
17 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

What to do with random PayPal security messages

If you are getting ‘security codes’ from a standard 10-digit phone number, it isn’t PayPal at all.
24 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

Here are tips for finding recently added contacts in your iPhone

Here are some other ways to navigate finding recently added contacts in your iPhone.
1 month ago
In this photo illustration the logo and search page of the multi-facetted internet giant Google is ...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

How to better examine your Google search sources

Now, more than ever, it’s important to know the source of information you find online and there's a handful of ways to clean up your Google search.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
What is blockchain, in layman’s terms?