A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a time stamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are highly resistant to modification of the data. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
A blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. By storing data across its network, the blockchain eliminates the risks that come with data being held centrally. Its network lacks centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure.
The first distributed blockchain was conceptualized in 2008 by an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto and implemented in 2009 as a core component of bitcoin where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. 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 been the inspiration for other applications.
In 2016, the central securities depository of the Russian Federation (NSD) announced a pilot project based on the next Blockchain 2.0 platform that would explore the use of blockchain-based automated voting systems. In early 2017, the Harvard Business Review suggested that blockchain is a foundational technology and thus "has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems."
Written by: Daniel Nicolitz, CTO, DentalPC
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