The world of cryptocurrencies is a complicated one. Although it’s become simpler to put money into it over the years, the underlying technology behind it all has only become more and more complicated.

As hard as that makes it to get your head around though, as you’ll come to understand, that is actually a good thing. The first work on the technology began back in the early ’90s in a paper entitled “How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document.” It was the very rudimentary idea of what the blockchain would eventually become, but it was the beginning of something that would spawn industries worth hundreds of billions of dollars and could very well reinvent many aspects of how our digital society operates.

Although you may associate blockchain technology specifically with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it’s just as related to cryptography as it is to digital currencies. Blockchains utilize the mathematical securing technique to legitimize a record, confirming its authenticity.

The blockchain is a growing chain of these records, or “blocks,” that allows for a confirmed trail back to the original block that’s heavily resistant to modification and tampering. That chain begins at the “genesis block,” the very first record in that chain and continues unbroken through successive blocks.

Each of them is proven through the use of cryptographic hash pointers, which link it with the previous block in the chain and prove its validity. They also contain a timestamp and transaction data, thereby offering the same function as a traditional middle-man institution but with public rather than private oversight. Read more from…

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