To the uninitiated, Blockchain is most likely a thing that a bunch of geeks came up with to speculate and gamble with. Rather, it was originally conceived as a way to break free from the control and manipulation of central banks. A libertarians dream come true, to which I am partial.
At first, blockchain can be difficult to grasp since there is nothing tangible to visualize. Rather it is simply a digital list of records, called blocks, that are linked using computer based cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.
Unlike most computer programs, were security is an afterthought, the blockchain was built with security and trust as a preliminary and fundamental requirement. Data within a blockchain is resistant to modification due to its distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties in a verifiable and permanent way. Because of this verifiable and built-in trust we can build communities.
The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The Bitcoin design has and continues to inspire all kinds of new and interesting applications each with their own enthusiastic community.
The possibilities seem endless to me and I believe that the blockchain is either a godsend or a siren leading many, myself included, down the path to the rocks of regret and remorse. At least I can take comfort in knowing that I won’t be the only one stranded, cut up and bruised.