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10 Things Everyone Should Know About Blockchains

Don't be left in the dark. Here are the hows, whens, and whys that make up the things everyone should know about blockchains.

Blockchain technology is set to transform the world just like the Internet did. People are getting rich, industries are changing fast, and you just want to know what's going on. But you don't even know what to ask. Don't worry! Here are the things everyone should know about blockchains.

What is blockchain?

First in the list of things everyone should know about blockchains is what they are. A blockchain is a collection of computers in a peer-to-peer relationship. Each computer is known as a node. The whole endeavor is a way to chronologically keep track of exchanges. Every node can see every block in the chain and their collective history, and every computer is updated anytime there’s an update.

How does blockchain work?

Second on the list of things everyone should know about blockchains is how they work. Here's the rundown: if two agents are going to have an exchange, the whole network of computer nodes will find out and bare witness. Because the act is seen, the exchange has received verification. The exchange gets added to the blockchain and receives a mark known as a hash. Every node then receives an update of every block in the chain.

Where is blockchain in its evolution?

If you learn the things everyone should know about blockchains, you're going to need some context—like how far along blockchain is in its growth. Right now, blockchain is where the Internet was in 1998. That means dial up modems that kept you from using the phone at the same time that you tried to browse the web, minutes to download images, and the dawn of Simpsons web-rings. But soon enough blockchain is going to blow up bigger than you can even imagine. 

How does blockchain maintain my privacy?

"But why should I use blockchain?" That's one of the things everyone should know about blockchains. See, the reason that white supremacists like Bitcoin is that they can make investments without their personal data being disclosed. They can keep being anonymous white supremacists!

The way it works is that your name is associated with a private key when you trade bitcoin. The transaction is public and gets incorporated into the rest of the blockchain. In this way, your privacy is protected. And because the entire network of computer nodes sees the transaction it also makes the transaction more secure than using your credit card because there’s more peepers peeping at the blockchain to spot a potential change. There are actually many other ways blockchain is revolutionizing cybersecurity.

How quickly is the blockchain updated?

So, is blockchain fast? Oh, it's fast like the Millennium Falcon! That's one of the things everyone should know about blockchains. Cryptocurrency transactions are instantaneous—even faster than a credit card—because there are no intermediaries to go through or organizations providing oversight. The same could be said of any transaction that may occur in various applications of blockchain. If we’re in the arena of healthcare, for example, any changes made to personal data would happen right away, which is good news because when lives are on the line we don’t want to be fooling around. 

What are some non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain and is anyone making use of blockchain technology already?

Among the things everyone should know about blockchains are some potential applications. There are industries that are nailing blockchain already. The technology, for example, can be used for online voting with minimal voter fraud. You'd always be able to check whether the vote you made was recorded as you made it. Security! Blockchain can also be used by musicians to sell music directly to their fans, maintaining a one to one relationship with their audience since there'd be no intermediary like Spotify. And blockchain is already being used within the diamond industry, which is notoriously riddled with fraud.   

Are any companies already investing in blockchain?

A sure sign of potential is if big players are interested in working with the technology, so one of the things everyone should know about blockchains is that there's already big names getting onboard. Who? Well, how’s $200 million from IBM plus 1,000 of the company's employees working on blockchain projects? Or over $1 billion from venture capitalists? You bet that's a lot! Some estimate that by 2024 there will be $20 billion invested in blockchain tech. Woo wee woo waa very nice! The big four accounting firms are investing how they can implement blockchain into their projects as well. 

Are people getting rich off cryptocurrency?

That there's money to be made is one of the things everyone should know about blockchains. There's hundreds of cryptocurrencies to invest in! And there are plenty of people raking in the big bucks with even bigger rakes because they either invested early, are providing tech solutions for crypto, or are serving in an advisory capacity. Cha-ching! And it's not too late for you to take a bite of this cash cow if that's what you're worried about! There are several Bitcoin influences to follow right now who'll help shape your investment strategy.

What's Bitcoin and who invented it?

One of the things everyone should know about blockchains is who's behind it. The first blockchain was created by Bitcoin's founder Satoshi Nakamoto, but no one actually knows who Nakamoto is and if Nakamoto is even one person. The political and economic ramifications of Nakamoto's identity is argument enough that we need to know who Satoshi Nakamoto is. 

What was the first purchase made using Bitcoin?

The last of the things everyone should know about blockchains is how it was first used in commerce: someone bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins. The value of those bitcoins now? $100 million. And those pizzas? Eaten. Blockchain has come a long way. There are even 5 cities that let you buy real estate with Bitcoin

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