Introduction to Blockchain

A blockchain is a public ledger that stores transactions on a cryptographic decentralized database. It can be used to store value, identities, agreements, property rights, documents and credentials. These digital assets are recorded in files called blocks, which are organized in a linear sequence determined by the timestamp of the blocks. Once the blocks transactions are aggregated, it is then verified by the members of the network, encrypted and attached to the last block of the chain. The encryption key of the block is derived from its own stored transactions as well as part of the key from the previous block. This block then can neither be altered nor modified anymore, as a change in a transaction would require a change of the key, meaning the whole blockchain. This makes it impossible to manipulate or change the chain retroactively. Due to this secure infrastructure, the innovations that have been created through the blockchain such as cryptocurrencies, tokens or smart contracts have built the basic foundation for the blockchain to develop into the: “internet of value”, “internet of rules” and “internet of agreements”.

This development can be seen within many governments and corporations that are already working closely with the blockchain technology. Estonia for example, a great leader in digital governance, is cooperating with numerous companies to transfer medical records, governmental records, notary services, banking infrastructure as well as electronic voting to the blockchain. Moreover, Delaware which is home to 60% of the Fortune 500 companies has partnered with the blockchain corporation Symbiont in order to transfer the company registers to a customer developed blockchain. On the other hand, blockchain will disrupt and replace many of today’s centralized services such as eBay, Spotify, Dropbox or Car2Go, as it has lower costs and more secure transactions as well as contracts.