The blockchain revolution: definition, operation and perspectives

The blockchain, or chain of blocks, is inseparable from bitcoin, the virtual currency created in 2008. It is in a way a decentralized and collectively controlled account book, on the peer-to-peer principle (peer to peer), from a distributed database. It is the blockchain that ensures the security of transactions by pooling trust. A reputedly transparent and tamper-proof system, the scope of which goes far beyond currency alone.

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What is the blockchain and why do we speak of a revolution about it? Behind this system of securing transactions in bitcoin, hides a concept that bases its reliability on transparency and mutual trust. Some believe that the blockchain is set to play a central role in our existence by replacing centralized trusted third parties such as banks, notaries, insurance companies, etc.

→ To go further, discover theepisode website Blockchain Revolution developed by the school Etnathe new work-study program in IT and the SII group.

The blockchain was born with bitcoin

The blockchain, or chain of blocks, in French, was born at the same time as the crypto currency called bitcoin and appeared in 2008. Bitcoin allows the purchase of goods and services; it can also be exchanged for other currencies. Unlike traditional currencies, bitcoin is not administered by a single banking authority, it operates in a decentralized manner through a set of knots. These form the network through which all transactions are made. A secure public register keeps the history of all these operations. It is reputed to be tamper-proof since it is based on the principle of shared trust.

“Miners” form the nodes of the blockchain

Each transaction is encrypted and stored in a block, which can contain several separate transactions. A block includes a numerical marking from the previous block which attests to its validity. This marking operation is carried out by voluntary users, who are called “minors”. The latter provide their time and the computing power of their computers to administer the blockchain. Miners form the nodes, or rather the links of the blockchain.

This operation called “mining” allows these people to be paid, in bitcoin of course. The value of bitcoin is maintained by software which adapt the intensity of the calculations to the number of active miners. The more bitcoin miners there are, the more complex the calculations and the more secure the blockchain.

The future of blockchain beyond bitcoin

Blockchain has many advantages. Financial first of all, since it makes it possible to reduce the costs linked to banking transactions and even to eliminate banks as trusted third parties. In addition to digital payments, this technology can be used to transfer other assets, for example securities, bonds, shares, voting rights…

Furthermore, the transparency of the system and its decentralized architecture give it potential applications that go beyond the financial sphere. The blockchain being a register, it can be used to establish a traceability on all kinds of products and services. It can also be used to guarantee theapplication smart contracts smart contracts), programs that automatically execute the terms of a contract.

To go further on blockchain and bitcoin topics

If you want to learn more about bitcoin and the blockchain, the SII group and the School of Advanced Digital Technologies (Etna) have developed a program broadcast on Internet. baptized Blockchain Revolutionit consists of seven one-hour episodes:

  1. Understand the blockchain phenomenon;
  2. the protocol validation of bitcoin or the ” proof of work » ;
  3. Bitcoin in practice;
  4. Bitcoin governance;
  5. Bitcoin as a platform;
  6. L’cambrian explosion blockchains;
  7. The blockchain revolution and the interview with Andreas Antonopoulos.

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The blockchain revolution: definition, operation and perspectives

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