What is a distributed ledger?
Bitcoin is made up of multiple technologies, which allow it to securely and accurately exchange ownership from person-to-person. Or as we call it, peer-to-peer.
One of the main technologies behind Bitcoin is called the blockchain. The blockchain is an electronic distributed record book. It stores all of Bitcoin's transactions chronologically.
The blockchain (or the history of Bitcoin's transactions) can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection. One can even watch in real time as new blocks are added to the blockchain!
Each block contains the data of the sender and receiver's wallet addresses, the amount of Bitcoins being exchanged, and the previous block number.
Many people believe that a bitcoin transaction is anonymous, however a person's wallet address - made up of numbers and letters - appears on the blockchain.
Since the number of the previous block goes on every new block, this maintains the integrity of the blockchain. This component of cryptography, called hashing, makes it impossible for someone to spend the same Bitcoin twice.
Every 10 minutes, a new block filled with multiple transactions is added to the distributed ledger. Bitcoin's transaction history is a series of blocks all connected to the one before and the one after it. Hence, the blockchain.
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