The blockchain truly is a marvelous piece of technology. A mechanism to timestamp the order of digital information without needing to depend on a centralized operator. A decentralized mechanism with no one in charge, that provides undeniably cryptographic guarantees around what data was added to the temporal record in what order. This property is the entire reason Bitcoin is useful as a form of digital money, without it there would be no way for the system to function at all without a centralized authority.

All of these guarantees are provided by three simple technical building blocks: private/public key cryptography, merkle trees, and hash algorithms. Every Bitcoin block is just some extra necessary data wrapped around the root of a merkle tree of all the transactions in it. The rest of the header includes data like the timestamp, difficulty target, block version, the hash of the previous block in the chain, and the random nonce used when hashing the head looking for enough…



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