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Blockchain explained and its Terminology

Blockchain is getting more attention in 2018. If you need to know more about it, check out our article below

When it comes to Cybersecurity, blockchain might be one of the trendiest topics in 2018, it’s everywhere and it’s usually surrounded by loads of questions. Most of people might think that is all related to cryptocurrency, but in fact is much more than that. In this article we will try to clarify what is Blockchain and the main terminology you need to know, even though isn’t part of your daily routine.

What is Blockchain

Blockchain is now the world’s leading software platform for digital assets. It’s at the heart of blockchain collaborations the world over, helping private and public-sector partners to do what they do and to do it better. Blockchains may improve any process where people need to access, verify, send or store information securely. This information could be a person’s identity, a product’s shipment history or a digital asset like money.

Typical databases, spreadsheets, and ledgers store information about objects, people, and the interactions between them. Much of the world’s information, from credit card transactions to medical and financial records, is stored in these types of systems.

Blockchains can bring transparency to opaque or corrupt systems, and verifiability and immutability to commercial processes. They can bring security and resilience to vulnerable infrastructure, ensure individual privacy whilst guaranteeing autonomy, and encourage cooperation and engender trust where they are needed most.

They are also best known for underpinning digital currencies like Bitcoin, but the tech industry has started to realize their broader applications. For example, some services take advantage of the immutability of blockchains to notarize or witness documents while others employ them to issue and transfer licenses for digital art.

In finance, blockchains can streamline existing infrastructures and enable faster post-trade settlement of securities as well as cheaper payments. In supply chains, they can deliver transparency. In telecommunications, they can help verify website certifications and provide secure communication. Just to mention a couple of practical examples.

Blockchain main Terminology

Below you can see a list of the main terminology that you need to know to begin to understand Blockchain. The list is based on the website csrc.nist.gov

BLOCK: A set of validated transactions.

BLOCK HEADERS: The portion of the block that contains information about the block itself.

BLOCKCHAIN: A distributed digital ledger of cryptographically signed transactions that are grouped into blocks. Each block is cryptographically linked to the previous one after validation and undergoing a consensus decision. As new blocks are added, older blocks become more difficult to modify. New blocks are replicated across all copies of the ledger within the network, and any conflicts are resolved automatically using established rules.

CHAIN LINKING: Connecting two blockchains together so communication and transactions can occur.

CONSENSUS ALGORITHM: A predefined method to determine whether some data can be committed to the data store.

CRYPTOCURRENCY: A digital asset/credit/unit within the system, which is cryptographically sent from one user to another user. In the case of cryptocurrency creation (such as the reward for mining), the system itself generates and distributes the currency via the same cryptographic mechanisms. These assets are transferred from one wallet to another by using digital signatures with public/private key pairs.

DIGITAL SIGNATURE: A cryptographic technique that utilizes private/public keys to determine authenticity, non-repudiation, and integrity.

LEDGER: A collection of transactions recorded chronologically.

NODE: An individual system within the blockchain.

PERMISSIONLESS: A system where all users’ permissions are equal and not set by any administrator.

TRANSACTION POOL: A distributed queue where candidate transactions wait until they are added to the blockchain.

*The article above is based on the information provided by the websites below:

https://csrc.nist.gov/CSRC/media/Publications/nistir/8202/draft/documents/nistir8202-draft.pdf

www.blockchain.com

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At New Horizons Ireland we provide a wide range of Cybersecurity courses, such as CompTIA Security +, Penetration Testing, Certified Professional Hacker, CISSP, CEH, Cisco, CISM, and more. We also offer flexible ways of doing your course. They are available online live, instructor led, or you can even organise them to be private at your company or in our promises. Talk to one of our Account Managers to check all your options.

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