PhD researcher (Blockchain); https://rafaelapb.github.io/
Hello All 👋,
I often struggle to explain what the heck is this blockchain thing. Is it a currency? Is it Bitcoin? Is it a computer program? Or many? How is this useful at all? Those are some of the questions I get. No worries, the concept of blockchain is very simple. A blockchain is:
In 🇵🇹 — escala de trabalho. I’m not sure, but I think the English term is “Work Spreadsheet”. If not, well, new concept. A work spreadsheet is a document saying who needs to do what and when. The idea is that everyone knows what everyone needs to do and when — so if work has not been done, people know who to talk to.
I’ll give you a very practical example. In my apartment, we have a kitchen — a kitchen we share among 5 people. Sometimes, one of us pretends to play the impostor game and manages to get it really dirty:
You see, this is a problem — nobody wants to cook on a disgusting floor. So we discovered that we could use blockchain to solve this problem:
Yes, a paper blockchain. You see, this work spreadsheet is really similar to a blockchain. A blockchain is a system that:
All these properties allow us, as a community, to decide what is considered acceptable behavior and what it is not. This way, we achieve a common goal (clean house). And this works even if we have different incentives.
For example, each one might want to spend as least time as possible cleaning, but would prefer the others to clean very well).
How is the paper blockchain resistant to malicious actors? let us now suppose that Rafael, on the 2nd of November claimed that he clean “WC G”, which stands for the big bathroom, while in fact, he did not. This is a malicious actor trying to “cheat the system”.
Fortunately, we imply a convenient way of dealing with this. If people go to the bathroom and verify that it is in fact, not clean — then a cross is put on my checkmark, and I would have to clean it away.
That is what a blockchain is, in fact. But instead of using paper, it uses computer programs and cryptography, automating this process.
If you have a situation that:
Then you start to have reasons to use a blockchain. A nice list that can shed some light:
If you think carefully, there are a lot of situations where we do not completely trust others.
This last one happened recently — and I feel it is very little to no transparency and, thus, accountability. As you can see, there are lots of different use cases.
I believe blockchain will thrive as a decentralizing technology.
Again, blockchain is not a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are typically enabled by blockchains, but that’s it.
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