At a start-up mela in the mid-2019 at Bengaluru, I was fortunate enough to attend a masterclass on blockchain by a now-ubiquitous cryptocurrency startup, then still in its infancy. It was a one hour class, with a variety of jargons thrown around like, hashcash puzzles, consensus algorithms, transaction blocks et all. At the end, we trooped out with a profound this-is-the-future beam on our faces. I was still dumbfounded, and grabbed an acquaintance who was sitting next to me in the class and asked him, “Hey, can you just give me a gist of blockchain and its uses”. He gave a quizzical look and then muttered “ Well, I'm also not fully sure, must read about it later online”.
The term Blockchain has become like how the term Big Data was in the 2010s. Most had heard about it, were confident about its immense potential and prospective applications, but were unsure what it actually meant or how it can be applied in business. This post here, ergo, serves to simplify this term Blockchain, and will endeavour to give a layman’s perspective on how it applies to different businesses.
Blockchain, per its deconstructed nomenclature, is a connected chain of blocks, with information in each block linked to the next one through cryptography. These blocks are analogous to an accountant’s ledger book, which maintains a list of transactions in a defined order, with multiple inter-connected ledgers recording the transactions simultaneously. Blockchains are a chain of blocks where every block holds some piece of data within it. The Blocks are also spread across a network of computers called nodes which all have the same record of each and every transaction. So instead of one company or a database which holds all the information, now the information is spread across the whole network. Hence the reason for calling a Blockchain decentralized. Transactions are not governed by a single party, but rather the entire transaction history is recorded in a decentralised, immutable, distributed ledger.