How does blockchain technology work?

Think of blockchain as a historical record of transactions. Each block is 'linked' to the previous block in the sequence and is invariably recorded in a peer-to-peer network. Cryptographic trust and assurance technology applies a unique identifier or digital fingerprint to each transaction.

Trust, accountability, transparency and security are built into the chain. This allows many types of organisations and trading partners to access and exchange data - a phenomenon known as third-party consensual trust.

All participants keep an encrypted record of every transaction in a decentralised, scalable and resilient recording mechanism that cannot be abandoned. Blockchain requires no additional overheads or intermediaries. Having a decentralised single source reduces the cost of conducting trusted business interactions between parties that may not fully trust each other. In the blockchain used by most businesses, especially popular among online casinos such as, participants are allowed to participate in the network, and each participant maintains an encrypted record of each transaction.

Any company or group of companies that needs a secure, shareable, real-time record of transactions can benefit from this unique technology. There is no single place where all data is stored, which provides increased security and accessibility, without a central point of vulnerability.

To learn more about blockchain, its underlying technology and use cases, here are some important definitions:

  1. Decentralised trust.
    The primary reason organisations use blockchain technology over other data stores is to provide assurance of data integrity without reliance on a central authority. This is called decentralised trust through trusted data.
  2. Blockchain blocks.
    The name blockchain comes from the fact that data is stored in blocks, and each block is linked to the previous block, forming a chained structure. With blockchain technology, you can only add new blocks to the blockchain. You cannot change or delete any block once it has been added to the blockchain.
  3. Consensus algorithms.
    Algorithms that enforce the rules in the blockchain system. Once stakeholders establish rules for the blockchain, a consensus algorithm enforces those rules.
  4. Blockchain nodes. Blocks of blockchain data are stored in nodes - storage devices that synchronise or update the data. Any node can quickly determine whether a block has changed since it was added. When a new full node joins the blockchain network, it uploads a copy of all the blocks currently in the chain. Once the new node synchronises with the other nodes and receives the latest version of the blockchain, it can receive any new blocks, just like other nodes.

Three types of blockchain:

  1. Public blockchain. A public, or authorised, blockchain network in which anyone can participate without restriction. Most types of cryptocurrency operate on a public blockchain, which is governed by rules or consensus algorithms.
  2. Allowed or private blockchain. A private or authorised blockchain allows organisations to establish control over who can access blockchain data. Only users with the appropriate permissions can access certain data sets.
  3. Federated or consortium blockchain. A blockchain network in which the consensus process (the mining process) is strictly controlled by a pre-selected set of nodes or a pre-selected number of stakeholders.

Benefits of blockchain

The use of blockchain technology is expected to increase significantly over the next few years. This disruptive technology is considered innovative and disruptive because blockchain will transform existing business processes, making them more efficient, reliable and secure.

Blockchain technology provides specific business benefits that help companies in the following ways

  • Establishes trust between parties doing business together by offering reliable shared data.
  • Eliminates isolated data by combining it into a single system through a distributed ledger that can be accessed by authorised parties.
  • Ensures a high level of data security.
  • Reduces the need for third party intermediaries.
  • Creates real-time records that can be accessed by all parties.

See more tips: How does bitcoin benefit society?