Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible — a house, a car, cash, land — or intangible like intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, or branding. Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved.
You can gain a deeper understanding of blockchain by exploring the context in which it was developed — the need for an efficient, cost-effective, reliable, and secure system for conducting and recording financial transactions. In this section, I provide that context and describe the characteristics of blockchain that make it such a suitable solution.
Problems with current transaction systems
Throughout history, instruments of trust, such as minted coins, paper money, letters of credit, and banking systems, have emerged to facilitate the exchange of value and protect buyers and sellers. Important innovations, including telephone lines, credit card systems, the Internet, and mobile technologies have improved the convenience, speed, and efficiency of transactions while shrinking and sometimes virtually eliminating the distance
between buyers and sellers.
Still, many business transactions remain inefficient, expensive, and vulnerable, suffering from the following limitations:
Transaction volumes worldwide are growing exponentially and will surely magnify the complexities, vulnerabilities, inefficiencies, and costs of current transaction systems. The growth of ecommerce, online banking, and in-app purchases, and the increasing mobility of people around the world have fueled the growth of transaction volumes. And transaction volumes will explode with the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) — autonomous objects, such as refrigerators that buy groceries when supplies are running low and cars that deliver themselves to your door, stopping for fuel along the way.
To address these challenges and others, the world needs payment networks that are fast and that provide a mechanism that establishes trust, requires no specialized equipment, has no chargebacks or monthly fees, and provides a collective bookkeeping solution for ensuring transparency and trust.
The birth of blockchain
Bitcoin is actually built on the foundation of blockchain, which serves as bitcoin’s shared ledger. Think of blockchain as an operating system, such as Microsoft Windows or MacOS, and bitcoin as only one of the many applications that can be run on that operating system. Blockchain provides the means for recording bitcoin transactions — the shared ledger — but this shared ledger can be used to record any transaction and track the movement of any asset whether tangible, intangible, or digital. For example, blockchain enables securities to be settled in minutes instead of days. It can also be used to help companies manage the flow of goods and related payments, or enable manufacturers to share production logs with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and regulators to reduce product recalls.
The takeaway lesson: Bitcoin and blockchain are not the same. Blockchain provides the means to record and store bitcoin transactions, but blockchain has many uses beyond bitcoin. Bitcoin is only the first use case for blockchain.
I hope this have been helpful for you in order to have a better understanding about where the bitcoin comes from.