Digitalization has permeated every sphere of life today and the digital age is also witnessing what many experts rightly call the Blockchain era. Blockchain was first introduced in 2008. It was then showcased as a distributed ledger that enabled Bitcoin transactions. The technology has become universally acknowledged and acclaimed in its own right since then.
Blockchain was initially used for ensuring a distributed public ledger for backing Bitcoin and enabled recording transactions minus the requirement for any central authority for trust-building. This naturally scaled up the efficiency levels of transactions, while doing away with third-party verification costs alongside. It also ensured higher traceability, transparency and security as compared to regular mechanisms for distributed transactions.
A Brief Blockchain Timeline
The history of Blockchain and its evolution can be summed up in a few pointers. They include the following:
- 1979-2007- Initial Ideas- The Merkle Tree was outlined in a 1979 Ph.D. thesis by Ralph Merkle for Stanford University. David Chaum also had a seminal Ph.D. dissertation for the University of California in 1982 and he invented digital cash. Haber and Stornetta made valuable contributions for time-stamping and other aspects. The P2P network came into being along with proof-of-work as a concept.
- 2008-09-Blockchain’s True Starting Point- Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper in 2008, introducing Bitcoin and Blockchain. This proposed the technological infrastructure behind Blockchain. Blockchain architecture was introduced in 2008, and the chain of blocks concept was also implemented, ensuring block addition without third-party signing. In 2009, the first Bitcoin block was mined, validating the concept.
- 2013-15- Blockchain’s Crowning Moment- The Ethereum Foundation was launched in 2014, helping Blockchain technology to go mainstream with regard to smart contracts and enabling developers to create decentralized applications. Institutions started understanding the potential of Blockchain and shifting towards its development. NASDAQ also started its Blockchain trial in this period.
- 2016-present- Blockchain’s rise and rise- Blockchain has become an invaluable technological framework across multiple industries, separate from cyber-currencies. 2018 saw Baidu introducing a blockchain-as-a-service platform. Walmart came out with its own ledger platform in 2019 and so did Amazon. 2020 saw several global giants integrate Blockchain into their processes. The trend has continued till date.
An overview of Blockchain
Blockchain is a distributed ledger or database shared amongst a computer network’s nodes. It stores information in the digital format and maintain decentralized, transparent, traceable, and secure records. The Blockchain guarantees the security of data records, while generating trust without any third-party requirement. The blockchain has information collected in blocks or groups that have datasets. They have specific storage abilities and when they are filled up, get linked to the earlier filled block and are closed.
This forms the data chain that is called blockchain. The blockchain ensures records that cannot be deleted, altered, or destroyed. For validation of new records or entries, a majority of the computing nodes of a decentralized network will have to agree to the same. There is a consensus system involving proof of stake/work. This has now become one of the most secure and transparent ways to store and record transactions across industries.