UNDERSTANDING BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

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Introduction

Blockchain technology provides by far the best way to send information, because it gives real-time, shared, and completely clear information that is stored on an immutable ledger that only members of a network with permissions can access. A blockchain network can keep track of many things, including orders, payments, accounts, production, and more. And because everyone has the same view of the truth, you can see all the details of a transaction from beginning to end. This gives you more confidence and opens up new ways to save time and money.


What is Blockchain Technology?

A blockchain is a database or ledger shared among the nodes of computer networks. It is a database that stores information in a digital form. Blockchains are best known for how important they are to keeping a secure, decentralized record of transactions in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. A blockchain makes sure that a record of data is correct and safe and builds trust without the need for a third party.

A blockchain groups pieces of information into “blocks,” which hold sets of information. When a block is full, it is closed and linked to the block before it. This makes a chain of data called the blockchain. All of the new information that comes after the newly added block is put into a new block, which is then added to the chain when it is full.

A database usually organizes its information into tables, but a blockchain, as its name suggests, organizes its information into blocks that are linked together. It creates an unchangeable data timeline when this data structure is used in a decentralized way. When a block is filled, that part of the timeline is set in stone. When a block is added to the chain, it is given an exact timestamp.


Basic Feature of a Blockchain

Immutability

Being immutable means that the blockchain is a permanent network that can’t be changed. Blockchain technology functions through a collection of nodes

The digital ledger is stored on every node in the network. To add a transaction, each node checks to see the validity of a blockchain ledger. If the majority of nodes agree that the transaction is valid, it is added to the network. This means that no one can add transaction blocks to the ledger without the approval of blockchain nodes.

Once a record has been validated, it can no longer be changed. This means that no one on the network will be able to change, delete, or edit it.

Distributed among Participants in a Network

For full transparency, each person in the network has a copy of the ledger. A public ledger will show everything there is to know about all the players in the network and every transaction involved. One of the most important parts of blockchains is its distributed ledger.

In a distributed ledger, it’s easy to see what’s going on in the network because of the rapid changes occurring.

On a blockchain network, every node must keep the ledger and take part in the validation.

Any change to the ledger will be updated in seconds or minutes, and the change will be verified rapidly because there are no middlemen in the blockchain.

Decentralized

This means that there is no centralized authority in charge of making all the decisions. Instead, the network is governed by a group of nodes. In a blockchain network, every node has the same copy of the ledger. Decentralization is a feature of the blockchain network that has many benefits, for instance, users now have full control over their assets and don’t have to rely on third parties for data management. It also makes it easy for each participant to have a unique profile on the network. 

Security

Each record in the blockchain is self-encrypted. Using encryption makes the whole process on the blockchain network even safer. Since there is no central authority, it makes it almost impossible for anyone to add, change, or remove data from the network.

Every piece of data on the blockchain is cryptographically hashed, which means that every piece of data on the network has a unique name. All of the blocks have their unique hash and the hash on the block before it. Because of this, the blocks are encrypted to be linked to each other. If you try to change the data, you would have to change all the hash IDs, which is very hard to do.

Consensus

Every blockchain has something called a consensus that helps the network make decisions quickly and without bias. Consensus is an algorithm for making decisions that helps the nodes on a network agree quickly and easily so that the system works well. Even if nodes do not validate each other, they can validate the algorithm that runs at the heart of the network. There are a lot of different consensus algorithms, and each one has its pros and cons. Every blockchain needs a consensus algorithm or its value will go down.


Application of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology can be applied to many areas apart from the finance industry. This is because the idea behind distributed ledgers in blockchains works well for any business with a database that needs a storage system that can’t be changed and can’t be hacked. 

Multiple nodes in a blockchain network each have a copy of the database, which makes it very secure and easy to understand. Every node works with a few other nodes to check any changes made to the database. This creates a system that is open and secure at the same time.

Here is a list of real-world applications of blockchain technology

Managing Supply Chains

Due to the fast growth of manufacturing and increased demand for goods around the world, goods have to be moved as quickly as possible from one part of the world to another.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a good example of what can happen when the supply chain breaks. In some places, it caused a shortage of goods that still exists today. Supply management needs to be as quick and effective as possible, and blockchain technology is one way to make that happen.

Using blockchain, anyone can find out where a product has been, from where it started its journey to where the customer lives. All the people involved in the supply chain can use the blockchain platform to cut down on delays, extra costs, and mistakes. Also, since there is no middleman in the process, there are minimal chances of fraud.

Blockchain technology in the Electoral System

People say that a country is only as strong as its voting system. And although electronic voting has been the most popular method for a while, it can still be hacked or broken down.

A valid voting system needs to be safe from attacks and transparent to achieve a fair voting process. And this is what blockchain has to offer.

With blockchain technology, the voting database will be on a “chain” that is supported at the same time by millions of nodes. Because a blockchain has strong encryption and isn’t centralized, the voting database won’t be changed, and each voting record can be monitored. The network also can not be shut down by third parties or middlemen.

Using loyalty rewards to Influence Customer experience

Keeping customers has become more dependent on things like customer loyalty. People want something in return for sticking with a brand or product. The loyalty program industry is fairly new, but in its short time, it has become very important. Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can make it easier to access and use the loyalty reward system.

Cryptocurrency can be a good way to achieve this. It uses the power of blockchain technology to speed up transactions through digital wallets that are easy to use. Customers can use these wallets to store their rewards in a safe platform that can’t be manipulated. Cryptocurrency transactions don’t have to wait for rewards to be approved by a central authority. So rewards are awarded without the permission of a third party.

Blockchain technology in Copyright and property rights

In the age of the internet, it has become important to own data, especially works of art like videos, songs, and paintings. Artists need to be protected from people or groups that claim contents they do not own. 

Although third parties like Google and Meta have systems for verifying information, they are not foolproof. This is where the blockchain could be useful.

Blocks on the blockchain, which are open and safe, can be used to store digital copyright information. No one else could claim ownership without being able to show proof of ownership on this open blockchain. Also, related technologies like NFTs use digital certificates to provide ownership that can’t be altered. This means that artists can still make money from their content even if the tokens are moved more than once.

Blockchain technology can be a means to secure loans for individuals

When individuals and businesses need money, banks and other financial firms lend to them. This is an important part of the financial industry. But there are flaws in the structure, such as the lender’s bias when giving out loans, time-consuming KYC procedures, and long wait times. These problems could be fixed with the help of blockchain technology.

In most cases, a middleman is needed to make the loan, get it approved, and give out the money. But the process can go smoothly if smart contracts are built into the blockchain. 

A smart contract is a piece of code that runs itself when certain conditions in the contract are met.

Using smart contracts, the lender and borrower can agree on fair and workable terms, such as proof-of-funds and a payment plan. Then, these contracts will validate and record transactions without a bank or middleman. This means that the person who wants a loan can be checked out faster and the loan can be given out more quickly.

These are just a few things that can be done with blockchain. In reality, blockchains can fix any system where people make mistakes and there are inefficiencies. If a company believes that the distributed model of blockchain technology can help its system, then it probably can.


In Conclusion

In the past, attempts have been made to create digital money, but they have all failed.

Legitimacy has been its biggest challenge.

Bitcoin was made to solve this problem by using a special kind of database called a blockchain. Most normal databases, such as SQL databases, have a controller in charge who can modify entries (e.g. giving themselves a million X dollars). 

Blockchain is different because there is nobody in charge. Instead, the people who use it are in charge. Also, bitcoins can’t be faked, hacked, or spent twice, so people who own them can be sure that they are worth something.


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