Learning Block Chain one step at a time

Had read about block chain being used heavily in the financial world. Initial impression was that it would be something to do with some form of payment and financial jugglery where big enterprises would play. Hence had ignored it for while.

A friend brought in a new perspective. It is secure platform to exchange value !!. Value could be anything, now that sounds interesting. Immediate thoughts

  1. Can we use this to remove middlemen from trade of commodities in India ? Farmers produce value, wholesalers purchase value, sell it to stores and so on.
  2. A virtual enterprise — a virtual team of software engineers, product managers, sales person, business management collaborate to create value. The enterprise runs as the value is exchanged on the secure platform and every body gets paid in proportion to the value the person brings in.

Decide to search for a MOOC that can help understand the concept.

Enroll for a program on Coursera from Princeton University https://www.coursera.org/learn/cryptocurrency/home/welcome

Have gone through 3 lectures so far and this is what i know

  1. Block chain is a data structure that holds data blocks
  2. The block chain is secured by using a hash pointer. A Hash pointer is a hash of the data that is points to.
  3. When you have a linked list (or a binary tree) of blocks, it is difficult for a intruder to change the data, as all the blocks on the chain would have to be changed (hash pointer is the hash of data so you need to keep changing all hashes till you reach the head node)

So far so good. Now the course gets into details of bitcoin, do I really need to understand this? The use case of interest is not in financial domain so why study bitcoin. Decide to go ahead, hoping that things will get clear once all the sessions are done.

Started reading about block chain from the IBM site as well. They seem to be talking about using the technology in other industries as well. Lets see how that goes.

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