These are some of the key concepts and terms to understand when talking about blockchain technologies. After the 2008 financial crisis, technologists wanted to create a financial system that existed without banks; a way for people to send a new type of money to one another, without any company or authority getting involved.

That money became known as cryptocurrency, after the cryptographic maths that made it possible. The grandfather of the cryptocurrencies is bitcoin, which was envisaged by its pseudonymous creator (or creators) Satoshi Nakamoto as a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”.

Although bitcoin is the best known digital coin, more than 1,600 are on the market with more being created all the time. Ether, Ripple and Litecoin are among the better known of the growing list.

The technique that bitcoin’s creators settled on to create decentralised digital money was a huge, public record-keeping system. Rather than being controlled by a single entity, the distributed ledger is spread across thousands of computers that work together to verify transactions.

Blockchain is one type of distributed ledger, where hundreds of computers create a growing list, or chain, of time-stamped transactions that cannot be altered. Each new transaction is added as a “block” to the chain. Read more from…

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