There is a lot of confusion about what blockchains are. In this article, we try to address some of the misconceptions surrounding blockchains and to bring clarification on the matter by turning to expert opinion
Blockchain is not the underlying technology of Bitcoin
The bitcoin blockchain is what the bitcoin network produces using an innovative consensus protocol. The novelty of this protocol lies in decentralization. A decentralized system is one where parties act independently to establish the universal truth.
Blockchain is just an output of the Bitcoin network. Decentralized consensus is the real underlying innovation behind Bitcoin.— Qiao Wang (@QWQiao) August 7, 2018
Blockchains are more than simply databases
While blockchains do record and store data, calling blockchains a database is greatly underestimating them. Blockchains enable decentralized control over data. Involved parties now do not need to trust each other or an intermediary, they only need to trust the code.
Blockchain is not a database, it's a protocol for syncing the databases. The point of a blockchain is not to "store" or "distribute" data, it is to make sure mutually distrusting parties are all on the same page.— Oleg Andreev (@oleganza) August 27, 2018
Bitcoin introduced the first blockchain, a new data structure, but this is not the only thing a blockchain is. Blockchains combine cryptography, economics, and distributed systems to bring a new way of establishing the truthful chain of events.
Calling blockchains a "data structure" is missing the point. It's cryptography, economics and distributed systems and the way these fields interact in systems like BTC, ETH, etc that's interesting.— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) August 28, 2018
Blockchains cannot be hacked
The bitcoin proof-of-work protocol determines consensus by measuring the amount of computational power dedicated to a particular history of transactions. To compromise such a system, a malicious party will have to control more than half of the total computational power. According to various sources, the bitcoin network consumes 1% of all the world’s energy production. This effectively means that attacking the bitcoin network will require around 1% of the world’s energy production.
Joke: Bitcoin mining wastes 1% of the world's energy production.— Tuur Demeester (@TuurDemeester) August 27, 2018
Woke: Attacking Bitcoin costs 1% of the world's energy production.
It is essential that people understand blockchains are not only a new way of storing data. The real innovation is decentralized consensus, which brings data record and storage to new levels of transparency, immutability, and security.