Blockchains are immutable public ledgers that allow everyone to see how data travels between users and platforms.
Blockchains are at the heart of web3, the key infrastructure that makes all of this possible.
The concept of a blockchain has certainly entered the public mind, but there’s still very few people who grasp what they really do. This is normal, and you shouldn’t feel that bad about it, it definitely takes some getting used to.
To make it understandable, think about how the internet currently runs on (comparatively) a handful of servers, centralized and controlled by powerful companies.
Now, imagine if every person in the world helped keep the internet going forever. This would make it so much more resilient, there’s no server catching fire that could stop us!
That’s exactly what blockchains do.
In order to keep the internet working and your cat pictures endlessly flowing, every server in the world needs to speak the same “language”. It doesn’t make sense if one says you liked that pepe meme and another one doesn’t.
To solve this in a more distributed way, blockchains use three core principles to ensure every piece of information is accurate and true to the person that input it:
These Principles are:
The more connections you make, the stronger it gets
To recap. An “Immutable Public Ledger” may sound like gibberish at first, but once you understand what it stands for and what it’s trying to accomplish, everything clicks.
Sure, blockchains are a bit slower than traditional servers and web2 approaches to data flow. But they’re only that way to ensure a level playing field for everyone interacting with them. By contributing to web3 and using one of the many blockchains around (like Bitcoin or Ethereum), you’re essentially letting FAANG companies know that your data and the value you create are yours and no one else’s.
We skipped one key definition when we mentioned every piece of information must be immutable, transparent and decentralized. You’re probably wondering how hundreds of thousands of people can be entrusted to keep the chain running at the same time.
The answer to this comes down to two main approaches to consensus (making sure every computer has the same information on it):
There are other methods to reach consensus, but the vast majority of blockchains work with one, or a combination, of these two. By agreeing that indeed you liked that social media post, the chain can be kept secure, and web3 can keep on rolling.