Toppie Lessons №2 : What is Blockchain ?
l What is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is not a company, nor is it an app, but rather an entirely new way of documenting data on the internet. The technology can be used to develop blockchain applications, such as social networks, messengers, games, exchanges, storage platforms, voting systems, prediction markets, online shops and much more. In this sense, it is similar to the internet, which is why some have dubbed it “The Internet 3.0”.
The information recorded on a blockchain can take on any form, whether it be denoting a transfer of money, ownership, a transaction, someone’s identity, an agreement between two parties, or even how much electricity a lightbulb has used. However, to do so requires a confirmation from several of devices, such as computers, on the network. Once an agreement, otherwise known as a consensus, is reached between these devices to store something on a blockchain it is unquestionably there, it cannot be disputed, removed or altered, without the knowledge and permission of those who made that record, as well as the wider community.
Rather than keeping information in one central point, as is done by traditional recording methods, multiple copies of the same data are stored in different locations and on different devices on the network, such as computers or printers. This is known as a peer to peer (P2P) network. This means that even if one point of storage is damaged or lost, multiple copies remain safe and secure elsewhere. Similarly, if one piece of information is changed without the agreement of the rightful owners, there are countless other examples in existence, where the information is true, making the false record obsolete.
l Why is it Called “Blockchain”?
Blockchain owes its name to how it works and the manner in which it stores data, namely that the information is packaged into blocks, which link to form a chain with other blocks of similar information.
It is this act of linking blocks into a chain that makes the information stored on a blockchain so trustworthy. Once the data is recorded in a block it cannot be altered without having to change every block that came after it, making it impossible to do so without it being seen by the other participants on the network.
Distributed ledgers have 3 key attributes:
1. Recorded: stored information is time-stamped
2. Transparent: anyone can see the ledger of transactions.
3. Decentralized: the ledger exists on multiple computers, often referred to as nodes.
Normally, each block contains the data it is recording, for example a transaction like 1 Lisk token being sent from Alice to Bob, as well as timestamps of when that information was recorded. It will also include a digital signature linked to the account that made the recording and a unique identifying link, in the form of a hash (think of it as a digital fingerprint), to the previous block in the chain. It is this link that makes it impossible for any of the information to be altered or for a block to be inserted between two existing blocks. In order to do so all following blocks would need to be edited too. As a result, each block strengthens the previous block and the security of the entire blockchain because it means more blocks would need to be changed to tamper with any information.
When combined, all of these create an unquestionable storage of information, one that cannot be disputed or declared to be untrue.
| Is Blockchain just for Bitcoin?
While blockchain technology isn’t simple when you dig into the nitty-gritty, the basic idea isn’t too hard to follow. It’s effectively a database that’s validated by a wider community, rather than a central authority. It’s a collection of records that a crowd oversees and maintains, rather than relying on a single entity, like a bank or government, which most likely hosts data on a particular server. A physical database kept on paper could never be managed by tens of thousands of peers, but that’s where computers, and the internet, come in.
Each “block” represents a number of transactional records, and the “chain” component links them all together with a hash function. As records are created, they are confirmed by a distributed network of computers and paired up with the previous entry in the chain, thereby creating a chain of blocks, or a blockchain.
The entire blockchain is retained on this large network of computers, meaning that no one person has control over its history. That’s an important component, because it certifies everything that has happened in the chain prior, and it means that no one person can go back and change things. It makes the blockchain a public ledger that cannot be easily tampered with, giving it a built-in layer of protection that isn’t possible with a standard, centralized database of information.
While traditionally we have needed these central authorities to trust one another, and fulfill the needs of contracts, the blockchain makes it possible to have our peers guarantee that in an automated, secure fashion.
| Defining digital trust
Trust is a risk judgement between different parties, and in the digital world, determining trust often boils down to proving identity (authentication) and proving permissions (authorization).
Put more simply, we want to know, ‘Are you who you say you are?’ and ‘Should you be able to do what you are trying to do?’
In the case of blockchain technology, private key cryptography provides a powerful ownership tool that fulfills authentication requirements. Possession of a private key is ownership. It also spares a person from having to share more personal information than they would need to for an exchange, leaving them exposed to hackers.
Authentication is not enough. Authorization — having enough money, broadcasting the correct transaction type, etc — needs a distributed, peer-to-peer network as a starting point. A distributed network reduces the risk of centralized corruption or failure.
This distributed network must also be committed to the transaction network’s recordkeeping and security. Authorizing transactions is a result of the entire network applying the rules upon which it was designed (the blockchain’s protocol).
Authentication and authorization supplied in this way allow for interactions in the digital world without relying on (expensive) trust. Today, entrepreneurs in industries around the world have woken up to the implications of this development — unimagined, new and powerful digital relationshionships are possible. Blockchain technology is often described as the backbone for a transaction layer for the Internet, the foundation of the Internet of Value.
In fact, the idea that cryptographic keys and shared ledgers can incentivize users to secure and formalize digital relationships has imaginations running wild. Everyone from governments to IT firms to banks is seeking to build this transaction layer.
Authentication and authorization, vital to digital transactions, are established as a result of the configuration of blockchain technology.
The idea can be applied to any need for a trustworthy system of record.
You can find TOP Network on:
Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Official Website: http://www.topnetwork.org
About TOP Network
TOP Network is a decentralized open communication network that provides cloud communication services on the blockchain. TOP offers secure, low-cost services such as messaging, calling, video, VPN, CDN, IoT data sharing and more.
TOP Network is also a high-performance public blockchain platform designed to handle real-world business of any size or volume. Powered by innovations including three-layer network, two-layer sharding, two-layer lattice DAG and PBFT-DPoS*, TOP can process several hundred thousand transactions per second on the blockchain.
The long-term mission of TOP Network is to build a public blockchain infrastructure for all Dapps. Our world-class team of over 100 developers is striving for this goal.
TOP Network originated from the common underlying network layer of Dingtone, CoverMe and SkyVPN, three communication apps built by the TOP team before the blockchain project. These apps, having attracted over 50 million users in total, will be ported to TOP Network upon the launch of TOP and generate huge volumes of transactions in the TOP ecosystem.
TOP Network was founded by serial entrepreneur Steve Wei and his colleagues in late 2017. Steve was one of the earliest employees of WebEx in the 1990s. After WebEx, he founded a successful video conferencing software company which was acquired by Huawei in 2010. In 2012, Steve co-founded Dingtone, a public listed company operating popular communication apps such as Dingtone, CoverMe and SkyVPN.
TOP Network has closed $11 million early investments from prestigious institutional investors and individual billionaire investors, including DHVC, Fenbushi Capital, NEO Global Capital (NGC), Ontology Global Capital (OGC), LD Capital and more.