The blockchain: Breaking it down into simple terms

You're not the only one confused about what exactly the blockchain is. TechRepublic's Dan Patterson and Brandon Vigliarolo offer an analogy to help clear things up.

There's a lot that goes into the blockchain: It's complicated technology that even the experts have a hard time explaining. TechRepublic's Brandon Vigliarolo has one way of looking at it: Think of it as a database.

Traditionally, databases are used to organize and track a bunch of data, and it normally exists as as file. That's not the case for blockchains, which are essentially a completely new form of database.

SEE: Quick glossary: Blockchain (Tech Pro Research)

With blockchain technology, all the participants have a tiny bit of the data from the chain, and each of them knows if anyone else tries to change it. In order to add to, or alter, a block in the chain the participants have to agree that it's a valid change.

Blockchain has countless uses, and more seem to be appearing every day. It started with Bitcoin and has since evolved into Etherium for decentralizing app programming, Ripple for the enterprise, and lots of other uses.

Learn more about the blockchain by reading the full Blockchain Cheat Sheet.

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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