So that you quickly understand what blockchain is, imagine that you are walking down the street and, suddenly, a flying meerkat of gargantuan proportions lands in a crowded square, eats the ice cream of all the children in it, drops two huge shrieks and it goes just as it came.
With no second to waste, a lie detector is placed on the 1.000 people who have witnessed and exactly what they have seen is recorded.
They all tell the same story with identical details.
Would there be any doubts about the landing of the flying meerkat?
Blockchain: A technology that can change everything
This is the fundamental principle that supports Block chain o Blockchain, a technology that has the power to forever change our relationship with the digital world.
Imagine a text file with two columns, where in one column you put an identifier (example "abc") and in the other a number (example "34"). In other words, "abc" corresponds to "34". Now imagine that this file could be duplicated on thousands of computers, with the assurance that no one can treacherously alter it but when something must legitimately be altered, in a matter of seconds, they are all synchronized. Even if one of the thousands of computers disappeared from the network, nothing would happen. This is what Blockchain achieves and although its magic is much more complex and composed of more pieces such as cryptography, in essence it seeks: a distributed registry resistant to synchronization and without the need for trust between the members that make it up. Something that had been trying to solve for decades and in Bitcoin has been achieved by its creator, the unknown Satoshi Nakamoto.
A blockchain is essentially just a record, a digital event ledger that is "distributed" or shared among many different parties. It can only be updated based on the consensus of the majority of participants in the system and, once entered, the information can never be deleted. The Bitcoin blockchain contains an accurate and verifiable record of all the transactions that have been made in its history.
Marc Andreessen, creator of Netscape
Explaining the parable of the Flying Meerkat
In the (sorry for your ice cream, kids) analogy above, the incredulous individuals who agree to explain what they have seen become nodes (later you will see the role they play in detail) geographically and computationally isolated from each other.
The "lie detector" is taught a “Proof of work”That is, a cryptographic process that proves that one computer / chip and not another has correctly solved a problem.
Forging a blockchain entry would be tantamount to getting more than half of the people to agree to lie about the details of the meerkat landing in the same way, all at the same time and without being able to coordinate that. lie previously.
In other words, a difficult "attack" to carry out.
What is embodied in the blockchain can never disappear. Blockchain is an immutable and permanent record. It is a database that only allows writing. You can not modify or delete any of it and always, under consensus.
Do you realize the relevance of this?
Think for a moment that every interaction that takes place online today is backed by a central authority that we trust.
It doesn't matter what you do since you're always trusting that someone is telling you the truth, whether it's the bank showing you the balance of your accounts, WhatsApp telling you that your message has been sent or your antivirus saying that everything is fine on your computer.
And each time we entrust more personal information to them.
Bitcoin is digital money. But when we think of digital things we think of files that can be copied and pasted, such as your vacation photos, a song or any other file that you have on your computer. But Bitcoin is different since, imagine the grace of being able to copy and paste money, it would not make sense. So there is the blockchain, the ledger. There are no bitcoins, there are no files that represent bitcoins, just an accounting book that manages to incredibly keep the accounting of the entire financial system.
For the first time in history, a book is being written collaboratively by thousands of parties. Imagine any great book, for example the Bible for Christians or any other, written collaboratively, by consensus, without informative dictators saying what to put in and what not to. Imagine how good such a transparent planet would be.
What does the blockchain or blockchain have to say about it?
It sounds incredible but thanks to the concept of distributed consensus An incorruptible record of past and present events in the digital world can be created.
Also, it would do this without compromising your privacy.
It can be recorded that the event in question has taken place and that it has succeeded without specifying specific details about the type of event or the parties involved.
This explains why bitcoin has been used to carry out illegal transactions since, despite public and free access to the “ledger”, the privacy of its users is guaranteed if required.
Typical misunderstandings about blockchain
Bitcoin is a decentralized network
It is not true.
The blockchain is a P2P network in which all the nodes are equal to each other resulting in a distributed system resistant to computer attacks, failures or falsifications.
In this way, even if a node fails, it could reach those to which it was connected by alternative routes.
This would not be possible in a decentralized system.
Blockchain and Blockchain.com is the same
It is a misunderstanding that is usually committed by those who start in bitcoin.
As we have seen, the Blockchain o Blockchain is the powerful technology that brings life to Bitcoin.
Blockchain.com is a service that allows you to observe everything that is happening in the bitcoin network, such as updated graphics in real time that inform about the status of the cryptocurrency, the transactions that are taking place or detailed information about each operation and block mined.
If you have come this far you will have already realized the enormous potential that this technology has.
One of its most relevant emerging applications has to do with what is known as "smart contracts" or smart contracts.
They consist of the ability to trust a distributed network to confirm that a contract of any kind has been fulfilled without revealing any type of confidential information about the parties and / or the nature of the transaction.
This would serve, for example, to release a payment to a . that you have subcontracted when their work is finished or so that your washing machine can buy detergent by itself once it detects that it is finished.
The implications of this in relation to trust and transparency when making transactions of any kind are simply enormous.
4 sectors that the blockchain revolutionizes
In theory, all this looks very good, but is there a company that has already started to work to unleash the power of Blockchain?
Of course the financial sector, which is what it was designed for, but it is not the only thing. Here are three examples:
1. Distributed cloud storage
Cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive are centralized and by using them you are trusting that a single provider will "respond" to the data you store on it.
Storj is a startup that is beta testing a service that allows this to be done in a distributed way using a network based on Blockchain to increase security and make the service less dependent.
Its users will also be able to rent the space they do not use to others, just as Airbnb does with accommodation.
2. Patents / Property Registry
One of the first non-financial services that has been given to the blockchain is the inclusion of encrypted information within transactions.
In this way, an impossible to replicate hash can be created that is associated with a single document stored outside the blockchain.
Imagine the implication this has for patent or intellectual property registration.
A company like Google, for example, could prove that it has created a technology on a specific date without the need to make a formal application to register the patent.
You could link those internal documents to the hash of a transaction made at the time and thus prove that they were the first to develop it.
As you can imagine, the cost of creating ballots, organizing all the necessary infrastructure to manage the vote and the subsequent count, has a very high cost.
Electronic voting systems have already been tested but have been unable to withstand hacker attacks and fail to count accurately.
The Blockchain can solve it since it would allow a voting system in which the identities of the voters were protected. It would be unfeasible (a hacker would need more computing power than the 500 most powerful supercomputers combined, 256 times) at virtually zero cost and public access.
This system could end the shadow of "pout" that flies over every election. Especially in countries where corruption is the order of the day.
4. Transparent government
With blockchain technology, any city or government could reflect the status of their accounts in real time.
With a network like Bitcoin or Ethereum, a city council or government should only indicate what address they manage.
From that moment we could all see the status of the accounts, what comes in and what goes out: down to the last penny, in real time and at a very low cost.
If at any given moment there is a payment that goes to an address that cannot be justified by an invoice, the auditors and the entire population would see it instantly.
Also remember that blockchain is a chain, so you can not put something in it a posteriori to try to falsify the accounts of the past.
Imagine this in a town hall, institution, or the Spanish government itself (which is corrupt at all levels since the distribution of powers after the Franco dictatorship).
Of course, this from the hand of those who manage democracies as if they were dictatorships, will not come out. So, despite the technological capacity to be implemented tomorrow, we have a long way to go.
What are banks doing about it with the blockchain?
We can think even further by putting medical records, voting, property records, marriage records, or blockchain-managed litigation on the table.
Eventually, any dataset and digital transaction could leave its "fingerprint." Creating an easily auditable trail of every digital event that takes place in history without compromising anyone's privacy.
Next we leave a video that visually illustrates its internal functioning at a theoretical level:
It seems evident that if the blockchain as a concept survives the enormous expectation it is causing, it could introduce a level of democracy and objectivity in the digital world hitherto unheard of and unattainable in the "physical world".
The promise he makes to us carries with it a future in which no one has absolute power online and no one can lie about past or present events.
Also, remembering the initial example of a text document with two columns, where "abc" corresponds to "34"; You should note that it has not been indicated at any time that they are those "34". This is because Blockchain is actually agnostic, it serves to keep an accounting of things. Then, depending on the case, the "surname" or connotation that is desired or that each ecosystem deems appropriate will be associated with it. Along these lines, in the Bitcoin ecosystem, the blockchain transports bitcoins, which are priced based on a quote that people give it. But this accounting could be used for countless cases: company shares, local currencies, home ownership, diamond identifiers, identities… The potential is only limited by imagination. After all, Blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows value to be transported.
Today there are hundreds of projects that, inspired by the idea of decentralization, are investigating how to extrapolate this principle to other things. Many times using even Bitcoin's open and free source code, the first ecosystem to put the pieces together in a functional way on that ideal.
Don't forget that Bitcoin is constantly evolving and at the same time Blockchain technology. It is such a dynamic sector that new solutions, integrations and innovations appear every week that continue to take this technology to new levels.
Do you think it will be able to fulfill the mission of taking us to a more transparent and fair world?