What is blockchain?
In short, a blockchain is a list of data records that works as a decentralized digital ledger. The data is organized into blocks, which are chronologically arranged and secured by cryptography.
The earliest model of a blockchain was created in the early 1990s when computer scientist Stuart Haber and physicist W. Scott Stornetta employed cryptographic techniques in a chain of blocks as a way to secure digital documents from data tampering.
The work of Haber and Stornetta certainly inspired the work of many other computer scientists and cryptography enthusiasts – which eventually lead to the creation of Bitcoin, as the first decentralized electronic cash system (or simply the first cryptocurrency).
Although blockchain technology is older than cryptocurrencies, it was only after the creation of Bitcoin in 2008 that its potential started to be recognized. Since then, the interest in blockchain technology has been growing gradually and cryptocurrencies are now being acknowledged on a larger scale.
Blockchain technology is mostly used to record cryptocurrency transactions, but it suits many other kinds of digital data and can be applied to a wide range of use cases. The oldest, safest, and largest blockchain network is the one of Bitcoin, which was designed with a careful and balanced combination of cryptography and game theory.