Blockchain: What is it, and why does it matter? | NewsChannel 3-12 – KEYT

Blockchain: What is it, and why does it matter? | NewsChannel 3-12 – KEYT

You’ve almost certainly heard the term blockchain. But you probably have no idea what it is or how it works, let alone why it generates so much hype. That’s OK. Most people don’t.

That hasn’t kept it from becoming a buzzword thrown around in almost every industry, from finance to shipping to fantasy football. A-list companies like Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Walmart believe blockchain technology can track shipments, store data more efficiently, among other things. They aren’t alone in embracing the technology, which many people believe could revolutionize logistics, food safety, banking, and even voting.

Not bad for an esoteric technology developed by the enigmatic figure who created bitcoin.

Of course, none of that answers your question: What is blockchain?

A public digital ledger

A blockchain is essentially an immutable public digital ledger. Once someone enters a transaction, it cannot easily be changed. An analogy might help explain how it works.

Think back to when people used a checkbook register to keep track of purchases and payments. Now extrapolate that to include countless transactions by millions of people and imagine that copies of the register are held by thousands of computers. Each computer must verify a transaction before it can be noted in the register. Once verified, a transaction is written in permanent ink.

The register records transactions for a set period of time, which can be as little as 10 minutes. Once the register is filled, it is stapled