… particular consensus — it is agreed upon by all — and this consensus is enforced by proof-of-work. Perhaps one fanciful hypothesis is that the brain itself works kind of like an organic blockchain, replicating its model of self and world across its hemispheres and modules, with consciousness being the current decentralized neural consensus of the state of that model.
There is a fundamental alienness to Bitcoin, which is amplified by the sheer scale of what it’s trying to accomplish. At this point it’s not far-fetched to say these entities, these cryptocurrencies, are the most interesting technological objects of the millennial generation. They are futuristic even for our futuristic times. In learning about them you are thrust into a tumbling wonderland where a thing most familiar and indispensable, money itself, is being interrogated.
The main thing distinguishing a blockchain from a normal database is that there are specific rules about how to put data into the database. That is, it cannot conflict with some other data that’s already in the database (consistent), it’s append-only (immutable), and the data itself is locked to an owner (ownable), it’s replicable and available. Finally, everyone agrees on what the state of the things in the database are (canonical) without a central party (decentralized).