What is Blockchain? How does Blockchain Technology Work?

What is Blockchain Technology

In the simplest terms, Blockchain can be described as a data structure that holds transactional records and while ensuring security, transparency, and decentralization. You can also think of it as a chain or records stored in the forms of blocks which are controlled by no single authority. A blockchain is a distributed ledger that is completely open to any and everyone on the network. Once an information is stored on a blockchain, it is extremely difficult to change or alter it.
Each transaction on a blockchain is secured with a digital signature that proves its authenticity. Due to the use of encryption and digital signatures, the data stored on the blockchain is tamper-proof and cannot be changed.
Blockchain technology allows all the network participants to reach an agreement, commonly known as consensus. All the data stored on a blockchain is recorded digitally and has a common history which is available for all the network participants. This way, the chances of any fraudulent activity or duplication of transactions is eliminated without the need of a third-party.

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What is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology offers a way for untrusted parties to reach consensus on a common digital history. A common digital history is important because digital assets and transactions are in theory easily faked and/or duplicated. Blockchain technology solves this problem without using a trusted intermediary.
This explainer will offer simple definitions and analogies for blockchain technology. It will also define Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, blockchain, and initial coin offerings. Along the way, we’ll highlight promising use cases for blockchain technology.

"One benefit of blockchain is transparency. The ledger is a chronicle of all peer-to-peer transactions that occur."

Benefits of Blockchain Technology
Increased time effectiveness due to the real-time transactions
Direct Transactions eliminate the overheads and intermediary costs
Reduced risks related to cybercrimes, frauds and tampering
More transparent processes with a proper record creation and tracking
Highly secure due to cryptographic and decentralized Blockchain protocols.

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How Does Blockchain Work?

Blockchain consists of three important concepts: blocks, nodes and miners.

Every chain consists of multiple blocks and each block has three basic elements:
The data in the block.
A 32-bit whole number called a nonce. The nonce is randomly generated when a block is created, which then generates a block header hash.
The hash is a 256-bit number wedded to the nonce. It must start with a huge number of zeroes (i.e., be extremely small).
When the first block of a chain is created, a nonce generates the cryptographic hash. The data in the block is considered signed and forever tied to the nonce and hash unless it is mined.

Miners create new blocks on the chain through a process called mining.
In a blockchain every block has its own unique nonce and hash, but also references the hash of the previous block in the chain, so mining a block isn't easy, especially on large chains.
Miners use special software to solve the incredibly complex math problem of finding a nonce that generates an accepted hash. Because the nonce is only 32 bits and the hash is 256, there are roughly four billion possible nonce-hash combinations that must be mined before the right one is found. When that happens miners are said to have found the "golden nonce" and their block is added to the chain.

Making a change to any block earlier in the chain requires re-mining not just the block with the change, but all of the blocks that come after. This is why it's extremely difficult to manipulate blockchain technology. Think of it is as "safety in math" since finding golden nonces requires an enormous amount of time and computing power.

When a block is successfully mined, the change is accepted by all of the nodes on the network and the miner is rewarded financially.

One of the most important concepts in blockchain technology is decentralization. No one computer or organization can own the chain. Instead, it is a distributed ledger via the nodes connected to the chain. Nodes can be any kind of electronic device that maintains copies of the blockchain and keeps the network functioning.
Every node has its own copy of the blockchain and the network must algorithmically approve any newly mined block for the chain to be updated, trusted and verified. Since blockchains are transparent, every action in the ledger can be easily checked and viewed. Each participant is given a unique alphanumeric identification number that shows their transactions.
Combining public information with a system of checks-and-balances helps the blockchain maintain integrity and creates trust among users. Essentially, blockchains can be thought of as the scaleability of trust via technology.

Blockchain versions
Blockchain 1.0: Currency
The implementation of DLT (distributed ledger technology) led to its first and obvious application: cryptocurrencies. This allows financial transactions based on blockchain technology. It is used in currency and payments. Bitcoin is the most prominent example in this segment.

Blockchain 2.0: Smart Contracts
The new key concepts are Smart Contracts, small computer programs that "live" in the blockchain. They are free computer programs that execute automatically, and check conditions defined earlier like facilitation, verification or enforcement. It is used as a replacement for traditional contracts.

Blockchain 3.0: DApps:
DApps is an abbreviation of decentralized application. It has their backend code running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network. A DApp can have frontend code and user interfaces written in any language that can make a call to its backend, like a traditional Apps.

Top Companies in the Blockchain technology
#1 Advanced Blockchain AG
Berlin-based, publicly listed Advanced Blockchain AG (ABAG) was started by German crypto pioneer and co-founder of peaq.io, Robert K├╝fner. The company is an innovator of blockchain solutions for corporations, building a DLT solution for one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world. ABAG was recently selected to participate in the Silicon Valley chapter of the German Accelerator, which empowers high-potential German companies to successfully enter US markets. Further approaches using peaq.io’s proprietary DAGchain remain confidential.

#2 YottaChain
Built by leading scientists and cryptographers, YottaChain is a public blockchain that uses a unique economic model and governance structure, as well as proprietary technology, to connect global computing and storage resources. In layperson’s terms, everyday people can now tap into the power of a supercomputer and large-scale storage previously reserved for enterprises. This is done by connecting decentralized storage resources while providing de-duplication after encryption. In 2018, YottaChain was a top 20 finalist at the Founder World Championship in Silicon Valley.

#3 Bitconch
With a global development team of former Google, IBM, Huawei and GE engineers, Bitconch is using a proof of reputation (POR) consensus algorithm to enable its beta network to reach 100,000 transactions per second, which is reported to be the highest performance in the blockchain environment. Bitconch established an intelligent three-dimensional node reputation system, with POW (proof of work) + POS (proof of stake) + POA (proof of activity), which contributes to an open node pool and anti-centralization. The company recently partnered with Cryptic Labs to help scale up their efforts.

#4 KaratGold
Based in Germany, Karatbars International GmbH is the parent company of KaratGold Coin and a robust gold-based ecosystem of cross-border blockchain solutions. Their latest product, the IMPulse K1 Smartphone, is the first phone using Voice Over Blockchain Protocol (VOPB). Currently, KaratGold allows consumers to trade or purchase gold on more than 500,000 acceptance points worldwide. With all of the recent talk about Bitcoin versus gold, this company provides the best of both worlds.

#5 LiteLink Technologies Inc.
LiteLink is a publicly traded company developing enterprise platforms and digital wallets that use blockchain to solve problems in the logistics and payment industries. LiteLink’s flagship 1SHIFT logistics platform offers real-time transparency and tracking, which allows brokers, shippers and carriers to track shipments and settle payments without breaking stride. uBUCK Pay is a multicurrency digital wallet with a U.S. dollar–backed stable token built on Waves blockchain that supports traditional fiat and digital currencies.

#6 BiKi
BiKi.com was founded in June 2018. Headquartered in Singapore, it is a leading digital asset exchange focused on the global market. It accumulated 1.1 million registered users and 100,000 daily active users in under a year. Backed by Du Jun, co-founder of Huobi, BiKi is one of the fastest-growing exchanges. It focuses on the global incremental market, with a mission to bring digital assets to the mainstream.

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