This is part 1 of a series of short cryptocurrency “explain it like I’m five” posts. This series of blog posts is meant for the absolute beginner in cryptocurrency. They are also meant to be concise and easy to understand. If you’re interested in learning about crypto, some of the history of crypto, and how to get started with using crypto, follow along! We’ll be adding a new post daily and each post will build on the one previous to it.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain is a type of database. A database is a collection of information that is stored electronically. An example of a database is a table. Unlike tables, in a blockchain, information is collected together in groups called blocks.
In the case of cryptocurrency, blocks contain transaction information.
Blocks have a certain storage capacity and when that capacity hits its limit, that block is chained to the previous block and timestamped. The new block also gets information about the previous block. In doing so, each new block reinforces the ones that came before it. The chain becomes resistant to modification since data in a block cannot be altered without altering the data in subsequent blocks. This process forms a chain of blocks and an irreversible data timeline.
Check out the next installment in this series: Crypto ELI5 Part 2: What is a Node?
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