source: deviantart

Intro: blockchain? block chain? Is it time to get on this train?

The blockchain has been defined as many things — “distributed ledger”, “shared databases”; some pundits are even heralding it as the “next internet.” Instead of getting bogged down by the technicalities or whipped up by the frenzy, we decided to jump right in and intuit for ourselves.

For the initiated lot, this series is not about Bitcoin. It is neither a primer nor a technical analysis of cryptographic hash functions. Neither is it an opinion piece on the economic or political implications of decentralized systems.
 
This series is a first person attempt at understanding blockchains. Our knowledge of blockchains at this point is quite limited. That said, we’ve caught up on a fair bit of public discourse on this technology. Enough, to get us excited and write about it!

For the uninitiated, here’s a very basic summary of blockchains:

* they are a distributed database for transactions; 
* they are used to store, distribute and transact any “asset”;
* no single person owns or manages the blockchain system;
* transactions are “tamper proof”, i.e., very secure;
* incentives are required to maintain block chains autonomously
 
Over the course of multiple articles, our goal is to explore blockchain concepts by reviewing existing applications across a variety of industries. Soon, we will build our own blockchain application and document the development process in future posts.
 
In Part 1 we look at how the blockchain concept is being applied to music distribution, why it seems relevant, and whether it is working.

In Part 2, we explain Ethereum to the average internet user: what it is, what it does, and how it works.