What is Blockchain? Simply explanation for grandma

I started investing in cryptocurrency in late 2018. In all honestly, I had no clue what blockchain technology was at the time. My crypto investing fundamentals were based on hearsay and whatever my friends told me about the miracles of investing in bitcoin and altcoins. It’s only after the crash of 2018-2019 that I learnt my lessons.  The first lesson among many was about doing your research and one must not forget that, ever.

A few days ago, my 65 years old neighbour who is a retired school teacher told me about her plans of investing in cryptocurrency. Like many naïve investors, her logic was similar.

Everyone seems to be making money off it so it must be good.

While I would agree with the money-making part, I wouldn’t encourage that line of reasoning to make financial decisions. So, I asked her to research blockchain technology and explain it to me in simple words. What happened next blew my mind as she got back to me a few days later.

Blockchain as Explained by a 65-Year-Old Retired School Teacher

Let’s consider an example of a class attendance tracker.

  • The profile of each student is maintained online and the teachers update the attendance records every day.
  • Each teacher enters records on the same database using their logins.
  • Those who have access can also update backdated records in the system.
  • All students with less than 30% attendance are not allowed to appear for the final exams.
  • The ones with more than 90% attendance get 5% bonus marks.

Now let’s say a group of students have low attendance. They want to access the system and update the backdated records without anyone noticing it. All they need to do is hack one of the teacher’s account and make the necessary amendments. Once they do that, it will automatically get updated in the central database and nobody will get to know about it. They could also intimidate or bribe the IT admin who has access to the central database. Quite an insecure system as you can imagine.

The problem can be solved using blockchain and here is what the new attendance tracker would look like:

  • Instead of all the information being stored on just one file, each teacher has an exact copy.
  • Whenever someone updates the data, a request goes to every teacher for approval.
  • The updates get reflected in the system only after at least 50% of the teachers have approved the request.

So, instead of having just one copy of the student’s attendance data, there will be 100+ copies (depending on the number of teachers) and before any change can be made, a majority of teachers have to agree to it. In short, it is a tamperproof and trustworthy way of storing information. It puts the control in the hands of all the teachers instead of one central database that can be changed anytime, by anyone with proper access.

What are your thought? How will you explain blockchain within your own world views??

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