When you’re researching Bitcoin for the first time, chances are you’re probably hearing the term “Blockchain” come up very often. It’s important to understand the distinction between what is “Bitcoin” and what is “Blockchain”, or you can find yourself caught in the uncomfortable position of being engaged in conversation about these new concepts without anything but buzzwords to add to the discussion. As mentioned in our previous article, Bitcoin is a digital cryptographic currency that works using the Blockchain technology model. Although Bitcoin and Blockchain often have their definitions blurred together to the point where they may seem as two interconnected halves to a whole, we hope to shed some light on the subject.
As you know, Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that was created with the primary intention of keeping third party intermediaries out of your financial affairs. However, while the usecase of Bitcoin stops here, Blockchain has much more to offer.
The fact that Bitcoin is cryptographically secured, censorship resistant, or running on a trustless network which is dependent on concensus of it’s participants rather than a governing body to make the decisions that must be made, are not advents of Bitcoin. No, it is Blockchain that should be given these credits so often attributed to Bitcoin. Digital money is not a revolutionary concept. It has existed nearly as long as computers have existed. Bitcoin is a very small part of a massive, industry-shaking creation. It is the first and most well-known application of Blockchain, but nowhere near the only application possible.
You of course will remember that a Blockchain is simply a distributed ledger in which people can add their cryptographically secured and forever-immutable work to the endlessly lengthening ledger by way of chaining their block to the most recent completed block. This creates a perfectly straight line of records on that have taken place on the network, in a manner that allows everyone to see but no one to ever change once the block is accepted. This model may at a glance seem inconsequential to the world outside of Bitcoin, but Blockchain is an innovative and disruptive measure in applied cryptography in a way the world has never before experienced.
The power, value, and importance of Blockchain, and Bitcoin by extension (and all altcoins by further extension) does not exist in the oversimplified form of digital currencies that might just become more valuable in the future to your financial benefit. Blockchain introduces new options to world like it has never known before. The possibility for independence, for freedom, for privacy, and for incorruptability for every single person, in nearly every imaginable field. With the creation of Bitcoin we saw freedom of our finances. Later, other cryptos such as Monero were created to expand that freedom by increasing the privacy of our transactions. Within a few years of these saw fruition of cryptos like Ethereum, EOS, Stratis, and several dozen others that introduced and propegated the concept of ‘Smart Contracts’, which allow users to program a contract or agreement of any kind, that once released onto the network can and will do exactly nothing outside the thing it was created to do, forever.
With every new crypto introduced to the world we stray further from the notion that this technology is good for digital monopoly money and nothing else. We step slowly but surely forward as a society, into the new way of things. The way in which our systems are are fair and free for all people, in which governments and banks will not dictate or meddle in your finances, your agreements, your privacy, or your freedom. Blockchain’s new way of things will not be stopped because it cannot be stopped. Decentralized control means there is no head to cut off, no CEO to imprison, and no dictator to declare war upon. Because so long as there are at least two willing participants anywhere in the world working to uphold the network and follow its agreed upon, mathematically backed, and cryptographically protected set of rules, Blockchain as a concept cannot be uprooted from the ground it’s been planted in. And for this reason, because it cannot fail, it will flourish.