Blockchain technology is a revolutionary technology that is actually a continuation of yet another revolutionary technology. This second technology is a computer database.
Today, computers and databases are everywhere, from mathematical labs to coffee shops where computers with databases process payments to cryptocurrency ATMs.
Because of this, it is easy to forget that the database itself is a relatively new technology.
May experts consider Edgar Codd to be the father of modern databases. Codd was born in England in 1923 and moved to the United States in 1948.
Codd joined IBM in 1949 and worked for the company’s office in New York City as a mathematician. His job was to create computer programs for the first IBM computer. In 1953, Codd moved to Canada where he also worked with data and data processing. He then came back to the United States and started working for IBM again, this time in Poughkeepsie, New York. Then, he moved to San Jose, California.
At the time, computer databases did exist, but they were extremely hard to use and the only people who could use them where the people with mathematical and technical education, which was one of the reasons Codd invented the relational model of data, which in a way is a database interface that describes the relationship between data in databases.
The model has changed the way people were looking at data and databases. Codd has also created a framework that scientists could use to solve various database-related problems.
Because of all of this, it would not be an exaggeration to say that all databases that exist today at least in part use or are built on the ideas of Codd. No matter what you do, be it booking a hotel online, using a debit card or a cryptocurrency ATM, you are using the results of Codd’s work.
The structure of blockchains
In essence, a blockchain is a database, a ledger in which pages are connected using cryptography, which makes entries in the blockchain ledgers immutable and secure. This is what allows cryptocurrencies to exist. Blockchain technology securely records all the transactions, and after users engage in a transaction, the transaction becomes a part of blockchain, which means that when somebody spends digital money, the money is gone and it is not possible to spend it again because records about transactions are immutable.
The problem that the Bitcoin network solved by implementing blockchain technology is known as the issue of double spending. This is the same issue that exists with files on all devices. When you have data in an electronic format, what’s preventing you from making multiple copies and using them as if they were originals? When it comes to digital money, this means sending funds to multiple parties at the same time, which is what cryptocurrencies have solved by using blockchain technology.
In essence, the revolution of blockchain technology is that it made databases work like networks.
On a blockchain network, a computer that has a full copy of the ledger of the network is called a node. Blockchain networks are decentralized, which means that all the nodes are equal and there is no central authority that can change the rules of how the network works. For example, you can see the map of all Bitcoin nodes that are online as you are reading this article here: https://bitnodes.earn.com/
The nodes are located in various countries all over the world, including the United States, China, Canada, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Australia. This means that taking over the Bitcoin network is virtually impossible because as long as there is one node with a full copy of the blockchain, the network would be able to restore itself.
Public blockchain networks are more than ledgers and bookkeeping tools. They offer an incredible level of transparency that did not exist before.
For example, on most cryptocurrency networks, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, you can search the blockchain and find information about transactions that have occurred in the past. This is the reason why cryptocurrency networks are not truly anonymous. They are pseudo-anonymous because even though they do not store information about identities, all the information about transactions is open to anyone. This means that if someone knows how much money you are expecting to get in a transaction, they can monitor the blockchain to find the data.