We wish we could explain it to you in a single sentence, but that’s nearly impossible. So get comfortable, make yourself a cup of coffee, and we'll explain it to you in detail.
Let’s start with cutting the word blockchain in two parts: “block” and “chain”.
All crypto transactions are stored on a blockchain. These transactions are not just randomly thrown together on a large pile. No, they are bundled in “blocks” and sorted from old to new.
And the “chain”? The blocks are attached together into a chain, by means of cryptography. This way, each block is chronologically and cryptographically connected to another block. That is one of the things that makes a blockchain so difficult to hack. If you were to change information in a block from 2015, then you’d have to alter all the blocks that have followed it as well.
Picture that freight train again. If you want to take out the wagon in the middle, you will need to drag along all the wagons that come behind it as well. Quite a heavy task if you ask us.
Another important feature is that a blockchain is openly shared. There is no central power; all participants are in charge together. Thousands of individual computers monitor and verify transactions on the blockchain. Together they form a decentralized network. A single power can’t simply change information that’s been stored.
Additionally, every participant on the network has a copy of the blockchain. That makes cheating or fraud virtually impossible. Does everyone have the same version of the blockchain, but someone else has their own version? Then the group overrules.
And what if someone deletes their copy of the blockchain? Then there are always other copies out there. A bit like that silly picture of yourself that you shared in your friends' group app. You may have deleted it yourself a long time ago, but your friends still have it.