Blockchain, Bitcoin & Libra

Blockchain, Bitcoin & Libra

by Aleksandar Svetski, Founder, Amber

I’ve been told my “definition” of Blockchain differs from the “commonly used” one.

This is probably true, so I decided to examine why.

First of all, what’s meant by “commonly used”. I have a problem with this idea because I’m yet to understand the parameters of “commonly used”, and am still trying to understand what anybody is actually referring to when they begin to throw the word “blockchain” around [with so much certainty].

A number of years ago, I found myself personally entangled in the term “blockchain”, attempting to explain it to people at the local “bitcoin & blockchain” meetups I was hosting. The argument centred around grouping data in blocks & cryptographically hashing it to the data in the previous block in an attempt to build some form of “immutable ledger” (another term that gets thrown around) that could act as the basis of a more secure method of data storage.

Whilst on the surface, this sounds interesting, in reality it’s neither special, unique, profound or even useful.

I still remember the “aha” lightbulb moment where I realised that this concept was not the basis of Bitcoin’s immutability, & that immutability of the historical data on the ledger had very little to do with hashing to the previous block & everything to do with using that data structure/methodology together with the economic game of probability that Bitcoin used to achieve autonomous consensus (ie; its inclusion of PoW in its solution to the Byzantine Generals problem, aka; Nakamoto Consensus).

What I’ve since informed anyone I come across (or at least those who choose to listen) is that defining “blockchain” outside of the context of Bitcoin is like trying to define a carburetor without the existence of a car.

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Source: Blockchain, Bitcoin & Libra | Blockchain.News