A blockchain is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. A blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. Functionally, a blockchain can serve as "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically."
Blockchains are secure by design and are an example of a distributed computing system with high byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus can therefore be achieved with a blockchain. This makes blockchains potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records, and other records management activities, identity management, transaction processing, and documenting provenance.
The first blockchain was conceptualised by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and implemented the following year as a core component of the digital currency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double spending problem, without the use of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has been the inspiration for other applications.
Suggested heading for Steem specific information. Please edit and help us to build this subsection.
Steemit runs on top of a decentralized network named Steem. Like Bitcoin, Steem is a blockchain with transferable tokens. In addition to moving tokens from one place to another, Steem is also a text content and metadata database that applications or websites can connect to. Through these apps, Steem accounts can transact and interact with the Steem database. Instead of using cryptographic hashes as addresses like many blockchains do, user-chosen alphanumeric account names are used. With human readable account names, transactions can be made directly from an identity to an identity, making them easier to understand than hashes.
Steem also reaches decentralized consensus differently than Bitcoin. It uses a method called delegated proof of stake where block-creating accounts, called witnesses, are elected by Steem stakeholders. Instead of relying on proof of work to find blocks, the Steem network actively schedules these accounts to improve the time between blocks to 3 seconds. Block producers are given a small part of the rewards created in each block; the rest is paid to authors and curators.
Steem has no transaction fees for rate limiting or to pay its block producers. Instead, accounts use bandwidth, which replenishes fast enough that a typical user is not affected or limited.
While steemit.com is the first and reference front-end website interface for the blockchain content of Steem, the network's open and permissionless nature allows third-party websites and apps to connect and interact with the Steem database. Several have been created by third parties. These offer alternative interface designs or features such as Instagram-style image posting. Busy.org is a Steem-interacting website with an alternative user interface. eSteem is a Steem-interacting Android and iOS app. A forum-style application called chainBB is also available.
Non-Steemit apps and websites use the same Steem user credentials as used on Steemit. This is possible because the user account and password are part of the network database, using public-key cryptography. Only the user who owns an account can authenticate actions such as commenting, voting, or transferring with their password or appropriate key. Each account has a set of private keys with different access privileges. The lowest security level key allows posting, commenting and voting, but not transfers of currency. Therefore with a hierarchy of keys, it is possible to use other Steem-connected apps without risking a loss of funds or account control.
- @patrice : The Blockchain Doesn't Lie & Adding Value to Steemit.com September 8, 2016
- @luzcypher : Steem Is The Most Used And Undervalued Blockchain Of All Blockchains December 21, 2017
- Wikipedia : Blockchain Retrieved in 6/1/2017
- Wikipedia : Steemit #Steem Blockchain Retrieved in 6/1/2017
- The Next Web : 26,000 blockchain projects launched in 2016, 92 percent are now dead Written by Lisa Froelings, published in 11/9/2017
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If you're already a steemian you can be rewarded with steem, see how in @steemcenterwiki.