Into a Blockchain-ed Digital World

  • Data — Any kind of information like transactions, numbers, amounts, records, etc. form the contents of single blocks. The data stored inside a block depends on the type of blockchain. For example, an Ethereum blockchain comprises blocks that contain details of transactions like amount of ether coins, sender and receiver.
  • Hash — This is the identity of a block and all its contents. A hash is like a fingerprint or the serial number that you find on printed currency notes — it’s always unique to a specific block. Once a block gets created, its hash is calculated through the blockchain’s algorithm. If any data inside the block is changed/manipulated, the hash of that block changes. In other words, if the hash of a block changes, the block is not the same anymore.
  • Hash of Previous Block — The 3rd element of a block. Effectively the security guard of blockchains, the hash of a previous block ensures the traceable continuity of a chain. Example: from the below infographic, Block 3 has the hash 7CH3 and also contains a code of Block 2’s hash — 4KR5, basically pointing to the previous block in the chain.
  • Distributed — All members on the P2P network each have a copy of the ledger, giving total transparency.
  • Anonymous — The identity of members on the network are either anonymous or pseudonymous.
  • Unchangeable — If a record is validated, then it can’t be changed. It’s a herculean task to manipulate hashes on any block in the chain without alerting members on the network.
  • Time-Stamped — All blocks have a timestamp on their datapoint, and since the data is associated with the hash of the block, it’s easily traceable.
  • Unanimous — Only after all participants in the network agree to the transaction validity, it gets passed on the block stage.
  • Cryptocurrency: All currencies that you may have heard of — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Litecoin, etc. — are only at the tip of a 10,115-thick iceberg. This was the number of cryptocurrencies in circulation as of May 2021. Although central banks and governments across the globe are hushing up and pushing away digital currencies, these cryptos are fast-gaining recognition as methods of payment among several major brands.
  • Smart Contracts: Based on Blockchain technology, these are contracts that can be partially or fully carried out with minimal human interaction. These contracts don’t require a 3rd party to play the intermediary role between two contracting parties, the blockchain network into which the contracts are fed into can execute them itself.
  • Supply Chain: This tech is being used for product traceability in retail. For example — In 2018, IBM and Walmart combined efforts using Blockchains to monitor the supply chain of lettuce and spinach.
  • Financial Services: There are numerous banks eyeing up the incorporation of Blockchain into their processes, as it increases transaction efficiency and reduces costs. Of course they would only implement their own private blockchains, but the tech would still revolutionize their operations.
  • NFTs: Non-Fungible Tokens are digital assets that represent real-world objects like art, music, videos, etc. Usually they’re bought and sold online, along with cryptos and encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos. NFTs have become notoriously popular for buying and selling digital artwork these days.
  • Stable Coins in Cryptos: Most cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and keep swinging wildly with speculation. But there are ‘Stablecoins’ that are seeing their ships sailing steady over the next few years, because of widespread adoption and backing.
  • Blockchain as a Service (BaaS): This is a cloud-based service that helps users to develop their proprietary digital products. These products can be anything from smart contracts to regular data apps that work without the requirement of a complete blockchain infrastructure setup. Companies like Microsoft and Amazon are in the race for BaaS.
  • Hybrid Blockchain: Although only a nascent concept, hybrid blockchain takes the best parts of public and private blockchains to operate in a closed ecosystem and provide lower cost transactions.

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bitsCrunch - The NFT Ecosystem Guardians

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