In simple terms, a blockchain is a type of database that stores information—such as transactions, records, and assets—in blocks that are linked together using cryptography.
There are three main elements that make up a blockchain:
- Decentralized: A blockchain database is spread across many computers that all contain the same encrypted information. There is no central point of failure or control, ensuring the record of data is open, persistent, and secure.
- Distributed ledger: Every participant or "node" in the network receives a copy of the blockchain which consists of a permanent, time-stamped record of all transactions. This way, there can be no doubt that each transaction occurred the way it did.
- Cryptography: Cryptography secures every block and every transaction by using advanced encryption techniques. This makes it virtually impossible for information to be changed, hacked, or cheated.
Within a blockchain network, blocks of transactions are added to the chain in a linear, chronological order. Using cryptography, each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, effectively linking the two and forming a chain. This sequential linking of records is what gives the technology its name: "blockchain."
There are various Blockchain networks, some created anonymously (such as the Bitcoin Blockchain), and others created by individuals that have publicly shared their information (such as the Ethereum Network).
Each Blockchain network stores data (including Crypto) separate from one another and handles transactions differently.
At Ather Labs, we currently utilize the Ethereum Network and Layer 2 Networks, such as Polygon, for our Sipher Odyssey blockchain-related features. These networks are examples of public blockchain networks that operate using this technology.
More information about Ethereum and Polygon can be found here: