The Problem Blockchain Solves

After spending an hour reading crypto blogs:

If you know good bitcoin resources, do share.

I understand 2 things:

1. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which is an application of blockchain technology.

2. Nobody knows how to explain blockchain other than it being a "digital ledger."

Here's my take...

Unblocking My Understanding Of Blockchain:

Blockchain is an invention dating back to 2009. Combining things like peer-to-peer networks with public-key cryptography.

Big words, no meaning.

It's easier to learn a concept by understanding the problem trying to be solved.

At its fundamental, blockchain is a solution to an old computer science problem:

The Byzantine General Problem.

Imagine several generals scattered across a rebel city. Each general at a separate camp. They all need to communicate with each other to plan an attack. More specifically, what time to execute it.

Communication is only possible by messengers. They have to move between camps through wide-open spaces to deliver the message.

Many problems come with that:

  • The messenger can be captured or killed by rebels
  • Another messenger must be sent to confirm the message received. Which may repeat above.
  • The messenger may get intercepted, message altered, and generals confused.
  • How can generals confirm the message is authentic to begin with?
  • What if one or more generals are traitors? Intentionally sending wrong messages?

From a computing point-of-view the problem is:

Components between different networks may fail. And there is imperfect information on whether there's a failure. There's also a reliability of a third-party (messengers). Making transactions less efficient.

From a bullshitter point-of-view, we know the solution:

Blockchain is a digital ledger which can't be forged. The ledger is absolute. Every transaction between two parties is efficiently recorded, in a verifiable and permanent way. Also eliminating the need for a third-party (most important part)

How Does Blockchain work?

That's where I'm currently blocked. I have no idea.