Currently there is a lot of buzz around two technologies. One is artificial intelligence, something most people have heard of, and know relatively well. The other one is something everyone keeps hearing about, but most people don’t really understand why it is such an interesting and important idea. The blockchain is a concept that was publicly praised after the creation of bitcoin (that digital currency that seems to be a Ponzi scheme, but isn’t one). Bitcoin needed a system to decentralize its data transfers. What this means is, instead of using regular old servers like any website on the internet, it needed something that could function without an authority (the authority here being a server). An example of this is the infamous software BitTorrent, which lets you download movies and many other things illegally. The reason for its success is that it doesn’t use a central server for its files. The files are shared among users and hubs, such as the Piratebay, that simply tell you what user has a file that you want. So, bitcoin wanted something similar, but more secure. After all, financial transactions are involved, and security is a complicated subject in the computer world.
The solution that the creator of bitcoin thought of to counter the problem was the blockchain. A blockchain is nothing more than a public ledger (a list of records). Each block contains: the date it was created, some transaction data like Steve transferred 20$ to Bob, and finally a hash (it’s not very important to know what this is to understand the overall functioning of this system) to a previous block. The hash being the chain connecting the blocks together.
Okay and? All these financial/tech terms are confusing, and you still haven’t explained why this is important, you would tell me right about now.
Well, the reason why this is important is because it opens opportunities for us, for the first time in history, to create truly decentralized systems. Decentralized systems are great, because no one has any control over the product, and, therefore, no one can cheat anyone with it. Think of how many times banks have failed us, think about the cut that advertising companies take out as a fee just to find you a billboard. The only way to create a system without a leader is through math.