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Blockchain: what it is, how it works and the application areas in Italy

By blockchain (trad: chain of blocks) we mean, in the field of hi-tech finance, a continuously increasing list of records (the blocks), whose security is guaranteed by the use of cryptography. Each block contains a hash pointer that connects it to the previous block, a timestamp and the data of the transaction carried out. The blockchain can therefore be defined as an open register, distributed via peer to peer technology, through which to keep track of transactions between two parties in verifiable and permanent way: the data of a block cannot be modified retroactively. In fact, the blockchain provides that, if necessary, all the blocks following the one involved in the first modification must be changed and, moreover, the consent of the majority of the Network is required. These are the main characteristics of the Blockchain:

  • Reliability: Blockchain is reliable. Not being governed from the center, but giving all the direct participants a part of the control of the entire chain, the Blockchain becomes a less centralized system, less controllable, and at the same time much more secure and reliable, for example from attacks by malicious people. In fact, if only one of the nodes in the chain suffers an attack and is damaged, all the other nodes in the distributed database will still continue to be active and operational, welding the chain and thus not losing important information.
  • Transparency: Transactions made through the Blockchain are visible to all participants, thus ensuring transparency in operations.
  • Convenience: carrying out transactions through the Blockchain is convenient for all participants, as there are fewer third-party interlocutors, necessary in all conventional transactions that take place between two or more parties (i.e. banks and other similar entities).
  • Solidity: the information already entered in the Blockchain cannot be modified in any way. In this way, the information contained in the Blockchain is all more solid and reliable, precisely due to the fact that it cannot be altered and therefore remains as it was entered the first time.
  • Irrevocability: with the Blockchain it is possible to make irrevocable transactions, and at the same time more easily traceable. This ensures that transactions are final, with no possibility of being changed or reversed.
  • Digitality: with the Blockchain everything becomes virtual. Thanks to digitization, the application areas of this new technology become many

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