Roshaan's Blog


Roshaan's Blog

Demystifying THE "blockchain"

Demystifying THE "blockchain"

Blockchain for tweens

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·May 2, 2022·

5 min read

Being an active member of the twitter tech community I won’t lie, one has to do a lot of work to keep up with the buzzwords and trending topics to feel like a real developer. Lately terms like blockchain, cryptocurrencies, web3, NFTs… Startups (this one was always there) have been popping up in my feed and even though I did have some familiarity with these terms, I really thought I could brush up on my knowledge and hop on the trend to ya know..keep up with the hype ( and also sound cool).

The issue is that most of the explanations on the internet assume that the person reading them is qualified enough to be able to keep up with all the jargon and it does make sense because we rarely see a 5 or 6 year old heading over to the web to read about the blockchain technology. However, I prefer explanations which build up from a much lower level because that helps me visualize the concepts better.

Now coming to the topic of this post, let’s talk about blockchain and how it operates. If we search on google one of the very first explanations that come up sound a little like:

Blockchain is a distributed, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this explanation only that it did not make much sense to me back then. Before I could get to the question of what blockchain is, I had four other questions from which more questions were arising just by reading that 3-4 line explanation. So I decided to map out each question and join the dots together to get back to my original query and this is what I am gonna do here. Starting with:

What is a distributed, immutable ledger?

Before we can get to this question and talk about immutability and such big brain things let’s split the above question further and understand what a ledger itself is, because if we don’t know what a ledger is we can’t know how it is immutable and distributed (duh).

So wait, What the heck is a ledger?

In general terms a ledger is like a book that keeps a record of all the financial data of a particular organization or company. It can be thought of as a record-keeping system where you can keep track of the transactions and other…well… umm... stuff. Imagine that you have a lot of money and you wan’t to record and keep a track of all your expenses, sources of income etc. So you get a new diary and start recording your data in it, this is similar to how a ledger works.

Now that we know what a ledger is let’s get back to our original question. What is a distributed, immutable ledger?

In terms of a ledger the term distributed means that the record of transactions or the ledger which kind of acts as a database which is distributed Shared, replicated Copied and Synchronized kept up to date across all the members of a decentralized network, or a peer-to-peer network.

A decentralized network is a network that is distributed across several systems or nodes without having one central node or server


centralized.png The ledger that a blockchain uses is not only distributed but also immutable. The word ‘immutable’ is used to refer to something that just simply can’t be changed, so in an immutable ledger the records can’t be altered.


Each record in a ledger possess a unique timestamp and a signature to identify it. The signature is not the one we usually do for fun on random pieces of paper but it is something known as a cryptographic signature. For the sake of simplicity we will just think of it as a unique identifier for each and every record. Each unique record contains information and these records along with the information form blocks hence the name blockchain ;)

So now joining the points we just learned I think we can answer what a distributed and immutable ledger is.

Blockchain is a shared ledger where the records that have been recorded can not be changed and they keep a history of all the transactions that have been made.

Okay..but How is data recorded on a blockchain in the first place?

Let’s say there are three people who have created a distributed ledger meaning that each person has a copy of the ledger with themselves which is up to date and consistent with all the other copies. Now, one of the three people decides to request a transaction to write a new record or block of data on the ledger, the request is now sent to the other two members, the other members now do some cryptography stuff which is way too hard to explain, to validate the transaction…jk. They check hashes against the algorithm to validate the transaction and perform a process known as proof-of-work to achieve consensus on the validity of the new block and once it succeeds, the new block is added to the ledger.

I am perfectly aware that this explanation did no good and just gave birth to more questions which I will be tackling in the next post because this entire process deserves a post dedicated to it ( which I will be writing soon hopefully) and honestly I myself need to learn about it again… jk… unless 👀

Hope you enjoyed this post!

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