What is Blockchain
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology are the technologies that support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However this is only a single (and limited) use of the technology and there are many others.
The blockchain is essentially a linked list of data, cryptographically secured by hashing each block of data and including that hash in the subsequent block in the chain. By adding blocks, based on a common agreement among users, or consensus, it is possible to ensure that each user has a local copy of the same information as everyone else and that it cannot be tampered with – it is immutable.
If the data within a block is a list of transactions where each equates to an exchange of value between two entities on the network, it is easy to see how this can be used by individuals to exchange value without the need of a centralised institution to verify the transfer. For example, two members could exchange cash values without passing through a bank.
Removing the need for intermediaries has several benefits;
•No lengthy sign up to intermediary systems
•No delay in processing
•No fees for costs such as reconciliation, KYC/AML, book-keeping, insurance, capital reserves etc.
For many individuals and businesses these boil down to speed and cost of transacting.
From the early days of client server technology there has been a progression to capable distributed solutions.