June 6, 2016
All articles about the blockchain industry emphasize the cryptographic protection of underlying data records as the main trait of that technology, which makes the underlying ‘database’ (or better said ‘data structure’) completely immutable (virtually impossible to be modified) and safely shareable by all network participants.
I am sure many people wonder, "What does it all mean? How does it all look inside and how is it actually stored? How is this immutability achieved?" That’s why I have decided to provide a very brief primer.
Every known flavor of blockchain technology platform in use today relies on a couple of well-known cryptographic concepts which have been in existence for a long time. People from the payments space should already be very familiar with them (EMV was using them in various ways for a long time), but many enterprise businesses and IT folks may feel disadvantaged, simply because they haven’t been exposed intensively to those concepts.
The two key concepts underlying the blockchain are Cryptographic Hashing and Digital Signatures. Creatively combined, these two cryptography capabilities achieve everything that’s making blockchain a unique and potentially exciting technology. Let’s take a quick look at each one. I will bravely try to explain these at the highest possible level and rely mainly on ...