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The best definition for this technology is:

“Essentially blockchain is a distributed, decentralised, public ledger.”

Why the name “blockchain?”

At its most basic level, blockchain is just a chain of blocks, but not in the traditional sense of those words. When one says the words “block” & “chain” in this context, we are talking about digital information (the “block”) stored in a database (the “chain”).

So “blocks” on the blockchain comprise digital pieces of information. Specifically, there are three parts to a “block”:

  1. Blocks store information about transactions, such as the date, time, and price of your most recent purchase from Apple.
  2. Blocks store information about who is participating in a transaction. For Example, a block for purchase from Apple would record your name and apple.com.. Instead of using your real name, your purchase is recorded without any (personal) identifying information; instead, using a unique “digital signature,” which is essentially a username.
  3. Blocks store information that differentiates them from other blocks. Like people’s names to distinguish us from one another, each block stores a unique code called a “hash” that allows us to tell it apart from every other block. Hashes are cryptographic codes created by algorithms. Let’s say you made your purchase on Apple.com, but while it’s in transit, you decide you can’t resist and need something else. Even though the details of your new purchase would look nearly identical to your earlier purchase, one can still tell the blocks apart because of their unique hash codes.

While the block in the example above is being used to store a single purchase from Apple, the reality is slightly different. A single block on the Bitcoin blockchain can store up to 1 MB of data. Depending on the size of the transactions, that means a single block can house several thousand transactions under one roof.

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