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A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized and globally distributed public ledger of transactions that is constantly growing as completed blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order. The Harvard Business Review has described it as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.” A blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of all of the other blocks in a chain. All of this happens in an open and transparent environment.
Or, more simply:
“Blockchain is a record-keeping technology which provides a continually growing and immutable list of records. Each of these records (called blocks) are linked and secured using cryptography. Blocks typically contain a timestamp, transaction data, and identifiers (hash pointers) to prove its link to a previous block. These hash pointers validate the block’s place, which makes the manipulation or modification inherently difficult…This means blockchain technology is used to record transactions between parties, on a common ledger, in a verifiable and permanent way. It is considered distributed because the ledger is not held in one place – it is instead held in many places and each transaction must be verified by the consensus of parties involved in a given network…Since the ledger is not held by a central authority or held in one place, it is considered decentralized.” --- Andrew J. Chapin, Co-founder and CEO of Benja
The first blockchain was conceptualized in 2008 by an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto and implemented in 2009 as the core component of the technology underlying bitcoin, where it now serves as the public ledger for almost all cryptocurrency transactions.
Blockchain’s cryptocurrency applications are only the tip of the iceberg of its potential applications. Some observers believe that the widespread adoption of the blockchain technology could potentially be more disruptive than the introduction of the Internet. Some blockchain boosters say that the development of blockchain rivals, in significance, the introduction of double-entry bookkeeping in Renaissance Italy. Blockchain in this context is triple-entry bookkeeping where the third entry is a verifiable cryptographic receipt of every transaction.
Many businesses, from energy to healthcare to food are already exploring and implementing blockchains in an effort to trim costs\ and secure and share information more efficiently. They do so knowing that there very survival may be at stake.
In the summer of 2016, Dan Tapscott, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Blockchain Research Institute, delivered a TED Talk on the “Blockchain Revolution.”
How the blockchain is changing money and business
Corporations and individuals can create private “permissioned” blockchains which use an access control layer to govern who has access to the network. In contract to public blockchain networks, the users on private networks are vetted by the network owner.
This board has been created to discuss the underlying technology of blockchain, the potential and actual usage of the technology and, most importantly, the investment opportunities surrounding blockchain. Inevitably, these will include the cryptocurrencies and some casino stock plays that will flare out and crash