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The blockchain is a technology of storage and transmission of information, transparent, secure, and functioning without central control body (definition of Blockchain France).
By extension, a blockchain is a database that contains the history of all the exchanges made between its users since its creation. This database is secure and distributed: it is shared by its different users, without intermediaries, which allows everyone to check the validity of the chain.
There are public blockchains, open to all, and private blockchains, whose access and use are limited to a certain number of actors.
A public blockchain can therefore be likened to a large public accounting book, anonymous and unfalsifiable. As the mathematician Jean-Paul Delahaye writes, one must imagine "a very large notebook, which everyone can read freely and freely, on which everyone can write, but which is impossible to erase and indestructible. "
Locate the blockchain
The first blockchain appeared in 2008 with the bitcoin digital currency, developed by a stranger appearing under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It is the underlying architecture.
If blockchain and bitcoin were built together, today many actors (companies, governments, etc.) are considering the use of blockchain technology for other cases than digital currency.
How it works ?
Any public blockchain necessarily works with a currency or a token (token) programmable. Bitcoin is an example of a programmable currency.
Transactions between network users are grouped into blocks. Each block is validated by the nodes of the network called the "minors", according to techniques that depend on the type of blockchain. In the bitcoin blockchain this technique is called "Proof-of-Work", proof of work, and consists in solving algorithmic problems.
Once the block is validated, it is time stamped and added to the block chain. The transaction is then visible to the receiver as well as the entire network.
The decentralized character of the blockchain, coupled with its security and transparency, promises much broader applications than the monetary domain.
We can classify the use of the blockchain in three categories:
Applications for the transfer of assets (monetary use, but not only: securities, votes, shares, bonds ...)
Blockchain applications as a registry: it ensures better traceability of products and assets.
Smart contracts: These are stand-alone programs that automatically execute the terms and conditions of a contract, without requiring human intervention once started.
The fields of exploitation are immense: banks, insurance, health and pharmaceutical industry, supply chain of many sectors (agribusiness, luxury, international trade, distribution, wines, aeronautics, automobile ...), music industry, energy, real estate, vote ... De in general, blockchains could replace most of the centralized "trusted third parties" (banking trades, notaries, land registry, etc.) by distributed computer systems.
Of course, these promises are not without challenges, be they economic, legal, governance or ecological.