What is blockchain?
In essence, a blockchain is a specialized type of database with unique data structures and features. In most cases, blockchains operate as a public ledger of transactions maintained and verified by a decentralized, peer-to-peer network where a consensus mechanism regulates transactions. Each operating computer, or node, stores a copy of the shared ledger, making it extremely difficult for an entity to alter transactions in the ledger.
A blockchain collects information generated during a specific timeframe in groups known as blocks. Blocks are typically added sequentially to a blockchain network's chain of data, which creates the chain that links one block to the next. Once a block is finalized, it is then presented publicly to the network.
The various features of a blockchain (e.g., consensus mechanisms, block times, transaction fees, etc.) will vary depending on the underlying architecture. When conducting your research in the blockchain space, it is essential to note that the blockchain industry and the cryptography underpinning it are complex and constantly evolving. To learn more, here are some examples of popular blockchains: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polkadot, Solana.