It’s 2018, and here are some things that people are obsessed with: fizzy water, sriracha, purple everything, and blockchain. Yes, that blockchain.

The thing that everyone — from that guy you know who is suddenly crypto rich, to John Oliver to, well, us — has tried to explain to you. It is, as you may know, the platform that powers every cryptocurrency.

And now it’s started to expand beyond it into applications both useful and bizarre. One more super brief explanation: Think of a blockchain as an expanding list of records (ledger).

Each record documents a transaction between two parties, (for instance “Mary gives Paul three bucks for five apples”) and is public to everybody on the blockchain. The data of this ledger is stored across everybody’s computers — no central authority holds all the records.

“Mining” a cryptocurrency means doing complex mathematical calculations to verify each transaction on the ledger; by doing so, the miner gets a little kickback in the form of a little bit of the cryptocurrency in question. If blockchain evangelists are to be believed, the technology truly has the power to change the world. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of