One of the biggest words in recent times is “blockchain”, we hear it a lot both in written media and as well on websites and services offering digital services on chain. At the launch of any digital currency blockchain, it starts from the first block and progresses ever forward, block two, block three and so on.
They run on Apple, Windows and spooky looking command line UNIX/LINUX computers as a self evolving mechanism but all the layers (and there are many) can work together in unison offering a service most that want to can get involved in.
What do these ‘blocks’ contain?
Various information can be recorded onto a blockchain, with cryptocurrencies, a txID (Transaction Identifier) is created when a transaction is created and sent, it gets broadcast on the network and other nodes (computer instances) and masternode owners can verify the transaction using advanced monetary policies, rewards are included as the blocks incentivising the use of the blockchain networks for operators of software and hardware mining equipment.
Separate transaction records in each block can be searched in a block explorer via a web browser, addresses can be monitored for the most part with some projects building anonymity into the blockchain software, DASH coins can be mixed and sent in small denominations and PIVX operates a PoS (Proof of Stake) privacy technology and mechanism, BTC and other coins use PoW (Proof of Work) to extract blocks.
Different cryptocurrency projects offer different levels of privacy by obscuring or hiding the sender and recipient addresses with Monero (XMR), and ZCash (ZEC) being specific privacy coins but there are many more.
The use of a blockchain can only be achieved with every user agreeing and adhering to a consensus as well as governance, most blockchains are trust-based making them secure for any user or organisation that wants to operate on them, cryptocurrencies and associated assets are money, after all, so you would not want to operate on an insecure platform (or network) risking losing your assets.
This is the same with choosing to invest in a particular blockchain project, be very careful as there have been many scams in all sorts of forms with MLM (Multi Level Marketing), Pyramid schemes, fake cloud mining and more which is where due diligence and research comes into play.
There are many aspects to blockchain technology all set out by Satoshi Nakamoto with “his” decentralized Cryptocurrency network and service kindy unleashed to the world that we have all become to know as Bitcoin (BTC), since then both Major and Altcoin currencies as well as real-world services have been created that not only can facilitate financial transactions but also record data and act as a service layer with many different options.