A blockchain network is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that records transactions across many computers.
A blockchain network is a decentralized network of computers, also known as nodes, that jointly manage and maintain a blockchain. This structure enables the secure transfer of digital assets without the need for an intermediary, and it forms the basis for most cryptocurrencies. For businesses using or investing in cryptocurrencies, understanding the function of blockchain networks is fundamental.
A blockchain network maintains a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. This technology was first conceptualized and applied by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 as the underlying technology of Bitcoin, a digital currency. Since then, blockchain has found applications in many other areas, including supply chain management, healthcare, and voting systems. Each blockchain network has its own rules, defined by its protocol, about how transactions are verified and added to the blockchain. Blockchain networks can be public (like Bitcoin or Ethereum), where anyone can participate, or private (like Hyperledger Fabric), where participation is restricted. For businesses using or interacting with blockchain networks, the transaction data on these networks is important for accurate record-keeping and financial reporting.