Blockchain Basics: What even is a “blockchain”? — Beginner Bitcoin

Revolutionary. World-changing. Just a few of the words used to describe blockchain technology. Blockchain is the tech development of the century that is the driving force behind all cryptocurrency. But what exactly is a blockchain?

There are a lot of potential cryptocurrency users out there who simply can’t get behind a tech that they can’t understand. “I’ll never understand this, I’m not a computer programmer,” is how the sentiment goes.

But do you actually have to be familiar with computer programming, cryptography and more to see how amazing blockchain technology truly is?

At Beginner-Bitcoin, our mission is to make cryptocurrency (and blockchain) understandable for everyone.

A Glorified Excel Spreadsheet

Blockchain developers and enthusiasts would kill me for writing this, but one way to think about blockchain is as a “glorified excel spreadsheet.” At its core, blockchain is database.

We use databases all the time. Ranging from low-tech solutions, like a calendars, notebook, to excel files for personal budgets, all the way to complicated financial systems that your bank uses, databases are ubiquitous with information and technology.

What’s in a name, anyways?

When you understand the idea of a database, blockchain becomes fairly straight-forward. Of course, there is A LOT more that can and should be said (see this helpful video or this great book) about blockchain, but for most people, a simple definition will suffice.

Among other things, what differentiates blockchain tech from other forms of databases is the way the information is stored. The data on a blockchain is stored in groups, called “blocks”. Each block is unique, in that it contains not only new information that is added to the database, but it contains a timestamped record of everything that has ever been added to the blockchain previously.

This, in essence, chains the blocks together by a shared history, thus the name “blockchain”.

Ok, so how is this revolutionary again?

While blockchain itself is a technological breakthrough that would and does impress anyone with deep understanding of cryptography, most of our readers want to know how this revolutionizes our daily lives.

The possibilities of blockchain being applied to modern living are endless. It is already beginning to disrupt major sectors of the global economy with applications in real estate, finance, supply chain logistics, data storage solutions, privacy-based web browsing, and more.

The truth is that blockchain operating at its best will appear invisible to us, much like the air that we breathe. And while we may not be watching it, we will inevitable and eventually feel the effects all around us.

This is part 1 in a 2 part series on blockchain. To see part 2, The Benefits of Blockchain, subscribe to our site and be notified in your inbox when it is available.

Originally published at on December 28, 2021.



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