Blockchain at a high level
In order to provide context, it is important to recognize some basic characteristics of a blockchain. Before we talk about Ethereum, we need to step back and discuss what a blockchain actually is and what are all of these terms that are being thrown around when we talk about blockchain. Let’s start with some basic definitions.
Blockchain: a cryptographically secure distributed ledger system with a shared state in which each state is dependent upon the previous one, making it difficult to modify the previous state.
Cryptographically secure: something that is secured using mathematical proofs and algorithms that are virtually impossible to crack.
Shared State: The shared state of a blockchain is the state in which the majority of the nodes within the network agree is the correct state. This is usually referred to as a consensus, and there are various methods of implementing consensus algorithms and protocols, each with their pros and cons. Follow this link for a basic overview of the core group of mechanisms that are used today.
State Machine: It is an abstract machine that can be in exactly one of a finite number of states at any given time.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a “transaction-based state machine”, like other projects. However, Ethereum is different because it is a general purpose blockchain. In order to achieve this general purpose property, Ethereum enables smart contracts to be written on the Ethereum network. These scripts of code live on the blockchain and are executed autonomously or are triggered from external calls. It is important to note that once these pieces of code are on the blockchain, they are there forever. With these additional features in mind, a better analogy for encapsulating the essence
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