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The Basics of Blockchain

Blockchain basics represented by blockchain of digital data

In today’s fast-growing digital economy, Blockchain systems are becoming one of the most valuable and interesting technologies out there. These systems record transactions across multiple computers via peer-to-peer networks.

This technology is set to play a pivotal role in the next generation of computing. Learning to build, secure, and maintain Blockchain networks at Kenzie Academy from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is an incredible investment in your future.

If you’re interested in this breakthrough new technology but are still unsure how to learn blockchain creation, then here are a few basics to get you started on the journey to your new career.

What Is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions maintained by a network of distributed computers. No one owns it or controls it, plus its transparency across thousands of computers makes it difficult to hack.

Built completely from scratch, Blockchain technology is estimated to have thousands of applications over the next decade, far beyond their current most popular use in cryptocurrency.

For instance, technologies in healthcare, voting access, welfare, and arts administration are all made of data structures — and it’s highly likely that this data will be stored and run from a Blockchain in the future. There are currently about 1000 Blockchains in existence and that number is increasing steadily. Learning the technology now, before it explodes into every sector, is a forward-thinking career move.

While cryptocurrency is the proverbial talk of the town, many people don’t realize that it’s the system that underlies crypto that is far more interesting than the ‘digital money’ it supports.

Who Created Blockchain?

The origin of Bitcoin, and the Blockchain that supports it, is shrouded in mystery, a fact that has only added to the allure of cryptocurrency.

What we know is that a person (or collective) calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto created bitcoin, authored the famous Bitcoin white paper, and deployed Bitcoin’s original reference implementation.¹ The whitepaper was published on Oct. 31, 2008, which is now credited as the birth date of bitcoin, although the domain name (bitcoin.org) was registered on August 8 of that same year.

On Jan. 9, 2009, version 0.1 of the Blockchain software was released and included the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0). This was the launch point and led to everything that Bitcoin has become today.

Over the years, many people have speculated on who Satoshi is, but it’s never been proven. Nonetheless, that person (or persons) owns between 750,000 and 1.1 million bitcoins, which is roughly over 13 billion dollars even at today’s depressed Bitcoin price.

How Does Blockchain Work?

Perhaps the biggest allure of Blockchain is that it’s a trustless system. That means it eliminates the need for a third party, such as a bank or law firm, to facilitate secure digital relationships. This is possible by employing complete transparency. Whereas a bank enters into a private, secret relationship with its clients, Blockchains store everything on a distributed ledger that anyone can see and access, then use private keys

The data is stored in blocks that can handle a certain amount of data before they are full and before the next block is activated. Each of these blocks is linked to all the others via a chain, creating a massive interconnected spider web of connections.

How Do You Learn Blockchain?

There’s never been a better time to study Blockchain technology. While it may have originally been built as the foundation for Bitcoin, it’s evolved into a technology with many applications in our data-heavy world due to its ability to address the rapid advancements in big data usage, as well as its near-unhackable nature.

One of the most sought-after careers this decade is in the arena of cybersecurity and learning blockchain could give you a valuable advantage in that marketplace. Kenzie Academy from SNHU’s training includes various components of cybersecurity such as:

  • Computer programming
  • Data structure
  • Cryptography
  • Smart contracts

Those interested in learning Blockchain would be best served by having a basic understanding of coding through a programming language such as Python, one of the most in-demand languages in the development of Blockchain technology. Additionally, Kenzie learners can expect to benefit from understanding the ways that data is stored and organized along with having a grasp of network architecture can potentially be beneficial in your journey toward a tech career.

Can Blockchain Be Hacked?

The use of cryptography and peer-to-peer mechanisms means that Blockchains cannot be hacked in the conventional sense where a malicious actor uses brute force to break into a closed system and begins to make changes.

But the vast sums of money that are on the move mean that hackers will go to extraordinary lengths to wreak havoc, and they have found a few methods to do so.

Such hacks are very difficult to pull off, but not impossible. For example, a 51% hack is a method that attackers have used with some success. This occurs when a group of hackers gains control of most of the chain’s computational power, otherwise known as its hash rate. Once they own the majority (hence the name 51%), they can make changes to transactions that have not yet been confirmed.²

But what does this really mean? When a transaction occurs on a Blockchain, it’s confirmed within a specific block. When that block is full and closed off, the next block is launched and it confirms all the transactions in the previous block before recording new transactions. That’s the second confirmation. After six confirmations, a transaction is secured forever and is un-hackable. But until that point, it is open to manipulation and some hackers have been able to do so on occasion.

The good news is that it requires huge resources to take over 51% of a Blockchain, so these attacks have only happened on smaller ones, like Ethereum Classic, for example. Larger ones, like Bitcoin, would require extraordinarily large sums of money for 51% to be acquired and make it vulnerable to hacking.³

While Blockchain has earned a reputation for its security, it doesn’t mean scams and hacks don’t take place on various crypto exchanges. However, these attacks don’t necessarily happen due to corruption. Instead, they happen because people often leave their cryptocurrency unprotected in online marketplaces where they are vulnerable.

Take the Next Step

Blockchain is an exciting technology that is growing and moving at lightning speeds. Learning Blockchain with Kenzie Academy from SNHU is a step toward futureproofing your career and placing yourself in a select group of people with well-paid, high-demand skills. Apply today and turn your education into skills your future can count on.


Resources:

¹ Bitpanda, “The Bitcoin Whitepaper Simply Explained” on the internet (Viewed on Dec. 27, 2022)

² Investopedia, “51% Attack: Definition, Who Is At Risk, Example, and Cost” on the internet (Viewed on Dec. 27, 2022)

³ Coindesk, “The 51% Hack on Ethereum Classic, Explained” on the internet (Viewed on Dec. 27, 2022)

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