What Is Blockchain? In The Context of Authentication.

What is blockchain? There are a lot of overtechnical explanations out there on blockchain. They are often correct but impossible to understand by non-technical people.

As a non-fully-technical person, I am about to tell you what blockchain is in a way that you can understand. In the context of authentication.

Computer Database

To understand what blockchain is you must understand – Database.

Before computers, humans kept all the information on paper. And we call a collection of information – Database. A database is basically like a notebook on which you can write stuff.

A computer or digital database is a database that exists on the computer digitally. A digital notebook.

An encrypted computer database is basically like a notebook with a lock on the cover, and you have to put in the key or a passcode to open the lock to access or edit the content inside.

How do we store information traditionally?

Before the computer, people had been storing information (i.e birth records, graduation records, medical records) in a database. And normally whoever creates certain records is the only one that can access that database.

DMV is the only one that can access the DMV driver's license database. The University of San Francisco is the only one that can access its graduation records. Immigration is the only one who can access VISA records.

The notebooks are kept by their issuers, and it's never shared with anyone. So it naturally creates the challenge that people will have to contact the source for authentication of anything. And whenever we contact the source we assume they have done a good job at encrypting and keeping the record complete and accurate.

What is a blockchain? How does it store information?

A blockchain is basically a database but shared with everyone who's maintaining the blockchain every time a new piece of information is added.

Let's say if I am a registrar at a University that uses blockchain instead of a traditional database for its graduation record. Whenever a new graduation record is issued by me, I not only put it in my notebook but also share that information with a ton of other people in the network so they can add it to their "notebooks".

And whenever someone needs to verify a graduation record, they won't have to contact me every time to know if a record is real, as many others have the same information in their "notebooks".

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