At USENIX ATC conference a couple of weeks ago there was a presentation by a number of researchers on their BlockStack global name space and storage system based on the blockchain based Bitcoin network. Their paper was titled “Blockstack: A global naming and storage system secured by blockchain” (see pg. 181-194, in USENIX ATC’16 proceedings).
Bitcoin blockchain simplified
Blockchain’s like Bitcoin have a number of interesting properties including completely distributed understanding of current state, based on hashing and an always appended to log of transactions.
Blockchain nodes all participate in validating the current block of transactions and some nodes (deemed “miners” in Bitcoin) supply new blocks of transactions for validation.
All blockchain transactions are sent to each node and blockchain software in the node timestamps the transaction and accumulates them in an ordered append log (the “block“) which is then hashed, and each new block contains a hash of the previous block (the “chain” in blockchain) in the blockchain.
The miner’s block is then compared against the non-miners node’s block (hashes are compared) and if equal then, everyone reaches consensus (agrees) that the transaction block is valid. Then the next miner supplies a new block of transactions, and the process repeats. (See wikipedia’s article for more info).
All blockchain transactions are owned by a cryptographic address. Each cryptographic address has a public and private key associated with it.
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