Thursday, November 7, 2019
Understanding Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
A medical director of an emergency medical service in Audubon and Exira, Iowa, Christopher Francis Stubbs, M.D., previously served as a primary care physician in a rural county hospital. Outside of work, Dr. Christopher F. Stubbs’s varied interests include cryptocurrency.
Unlike the US dollar and other nations' currencies, cryptocurrency is a digital medium of exchange that exists only in the network and has no physical form. Encryption procedures are used to regulate the production of monetary units and to validate fund transfers. Bitcoin is a well-known cryptocurrency. One cannot discuss cryptocurrency without including blockchain, as it is the technology the enables the creation of cryptocurrency and its electronic storage.
A blockchain is a ledger of all transactions recorded in a network of computers that act as servers for one another, enabling shared access of information. A central server is not needed, which means a central clearing authority is no longer required for participants to verify transactions. The verified transactions are stored in what is known as blocks and added to the chain of blocks or blockchain.
The technology makes it virtually impossible to alter verified information, as the alteration must occur in all servers and affects all the blocks in a chain. Its transparency, security, and cost reduction potential (there is no need for a middle man or central clearing operation), makes blockchain technology extremely appealing for various applications aside from a medium of exchange.