The blockchain, or chain of blocks, is inseparable from bitcoin, the virtual currency created in 2008. It is in a way a decentralized and collectively controlled book of accounts, on the principle of peer to peer (peer-to-peer), from a distributed database. It is the blockchain that ensures the security of transactions by mutualizing trust. A system reputed to be transparent and forgery-proof, the scope of which goes well beyond the mere currency.
What is blockchain and why are we talking about a revolution about it? Behind this system for securing transactions in bitcoin, hides a concept which bases its reliability on transparency and a pooling of trust. Some believe that the blockchain will play a central role in our existence by replacing centralized trusted third parties such as banks, notaries, insurance companies …
→ To go further, discover theprogram Web Blockchain Revolution developed by the school Etna, the new work-study program in computer science and the SII group.
Blockchain was born with bitcoin
The blockchain, or chain of blocks, in French, was born at the same time as the crypto currency called bitcoin and appeared in 2008. Bitcoin allows the purchase of goods and services; it can also be exchanged for other currencies. Unlike traditional currencies, bitcoin is not administered by a single banking authority, it operates in a decentralized manner through a set of knots. These form the network through which all transactions take place. A secure public register keeps the history of all these operations. It is deemed to be tamper-proof since it is based on the principle of mutual trust.
“Miners” form the nodes of the blockchain
Each transaction is encrypted and stored in a block, which can contain several separate transactions. A block includes a digital marking from the previous block which certifies its validity. This marking operation is carried out by voluntary users, called “minors”. They make their time and the computing power of their computers available to administer the blockchain. Miners form the nodes, or rather the links of the blockchain.
This operation called “mining” allows these people to be paid, in bitcoin of course. The value of bitcoin is maintained by software which adapt the intensity of the calculations to the number of active miners. The more bitcoin miners there are, the more complex the calculations and the more secure the blockchain.
The future of blockchain beyond bitcoin
Blockchain has many advantages. Financial first of all, since it reduces the costs associated with banking transactions and even eliminates banks as trusted third parties. In addition to digital payments, this technology can be used to transfer other assets, for example securities, bonds, stocks, voting rights …
In addition, the transparency of the system and its decentralized architecture give it a potential for applications that go beyond the financial sphere. Since blockchain is a ledger, it can be used to establish a traceability on all kinds of products and services. It can also be used to guarantee theapplication smart contracts smart contracts), programs that automatically execute the terms of a contract.
To go further on blockchain and bitcoin topics
If you want to deepen your knowledge about bitcoin and blockchain, the SII Group and the School of Advanced Digital Technologies (Etna) have developed a program that is broadcast on the Internet. Baptized Blockchain Revolution, it consists of seven one-hour episodes:
- Understand the blockchain phenomenon;
- The bitcoin validation protocol or “proof of work”;
- Bitcoin in practice;
- Bitcoin governance;
- Bitcoin as a platform;
- L’explosion cambrienne of the blockchain;
- The blockchain revolution and the interview with Andreas Antonopoulos.
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