What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is the technology which powers Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. It is an immortal, immutable, openly accessible ledger of all transactions which have happened in the network since its inception. Almost every cryptocurrency has its own Blockchain. New transactions are registered and compiled in batches called “blocks” at regular time intervals; the blocks are created via the process called “Bitcoin mining” and added to the end of the “chain” of all the existing blocks, hence the name for the system. Blockchain’s existence allows every user to verify the fact that every specific transaction has indeed taken place at a specific moment in time.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is an open-source, peer-to-peer, digital decentralized cryptocurrency. Powered by the Blockchain technology, its defining characteristic is its decentralization, i.e. the lack of central governing authority, such as a central bank or a ministry of finance. Bitcoin’s issuance and circulation are ensured by regular users via a process known as “Bitcoin mining”. Bitcoin can be sent anywhere, anytime, (almost) for free, and with little regard for national borders or government/bank-imposed restrictions.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a decentralized platform for applications. It is powered by Ether – a cryptocurrency, which is in turn powered by the Blockchain technology. Applications are built with the use of smart contracts – computer algorithms which execute themselves, based on incoming data from the network. The self-fulfilling nature of such applications allows them to run without reliability issues associated with human operators.
What is Altcoin?
Altcoins, meaning “alternative coins”, is another term for cryptocurrencies (other than Bitcoin). Since Bitcoin’s release in 2009, many have noticed its crucial advantages over government money, while also giving recognition to the fact that some of its aspects can be improved upon. That has lead to the appearance of hundreds of different altcoins, which are all ultimately based on the same technology of the Blockchain but are designed differently in some ways, in order to achieve different goals.