How it works
The blockchain consists of a distributed digital ledger, which contains all the transactions ever executed in a network. The ledger is collectively carried out and kept synchronized in real-time by all the nodes of the network.
The transactions are automatically verified in blocks through an algorithm-based protocol executed by the nodes, with no human intervention nor central authority involved. Each block of data is then recorded in every node and linked to the previous block through a timestamp. Such procedure makes data secure, permanent, irreversible and resistant to accidental errors or tampering. The timestamp provides indeed a non-repudiable proof of date, origin, content, security and integrity of each transaction.
As a consequence:
- no block of data can be modified, deleted or replaced without invalidating the system: any form of malicious or accidental tampering is immediately evident;
- the legal validity of documents is indisputable, since the algorithmic protocols make data tamper-resistant;
- costs relating to infrastructural security and data management, storing and sharing can be reduced.
Applications and benefits
The blockchain is commonly referred to as a disruptive innovation and it is expected to dramatically change the world of business, services, public administration and finance in the next decade.
As a distributed, digital ledger, it can contain data and execute instructions related to documents, contracts, digitalized properties and assets, enabling any digital transaction, exchange of data and value to be automatized and decentralized on large scale.