What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralized, digital currency which is created by cryptographic functions. Transactions are stored in a decentral ledger (Blockchain, distributed ledger). This is to ensure a temper proof record and a constant availability. A very good summary of more information resources about Bitcoin (technical and non-technical) can be found on this page.
What is a Blockchain?
A Blockchain is a data structure where single blocks build upon each other in a way that no block can be altered afterwards. This is achieved by incorporating the previous block hash into the block hash of the following block.
Is Blockchain = Bitcoin?
No. Blockchain is a technology and the technical foundation of bitcoin. In the past years, many other cryptocurrencies emerged and are used.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is another decentralized system which builds upon a Blockchain. This enables users to execute smart contracts. The instrument of payment is Ether. This is used to pay the miners for their computing power.
What is a Miner?
Miners process and validate transactions in a Blockchain system. Therefore they solve cryptographic puzzles. Transactions are pooled in blocks. The miner who solved the puzzle is allowed to propagate the block into the network and received a reward.
What is a Block?
A block comprises several transactions. It is created by the miners. Every block has a unique hash.
What is a Transaction?
A transaction is a process in the Blockchain network which is triggered by an address. For example, it can transfer coins (digital tokens) or start the execution / deployment of a smart contract.
Why is the Blockchain technology so unprecedented?
The internet we know since the early 1990s can be seen as the “internet of copies”. Sending an email, a document or a picture or downloading a book or a movie means creating a copy of this file. The Blockchain technology helps us to develop an “internet of originals”. In other words a digital value (money, rights, royalties, shares,…) can be sent to the recipient without copy. This works completely without any intermediary.
Where can Blockchain technology be applied?
Digital currency (e.g. bitcoin, dash, ripple); international money transfer (cross-border payments), supply,- logistic and product proof chains, Blockchain-based supply chain management (SCM), internet of things (IoT) applications (machines pay machines, human pay machines, micro and nano payments, electronic votes, digital automatization of administration (digital land charge register, stock book, register of marriages, commercial register, birth certificate, registration, drivers licence etc. as well as any sovereign certification and authentication; comprehensive identity management in conjunction with pki-services for humans as replacement for Post-Ident or video ident-processes, authorization and authentication for autonomous devices, Blockchain-based (working) time recording, digital notary services, healthcare industry (Blockchain-based health record); sharing economy, Access, park and charging systems; Blockchain-based API-management (application programming interface); thoroughly automated insurance applications (e.g. hedging of exchange rate fluctuations, weather dependent crop/return/profit failures), cancellation of flights or trains;…