Mankind has been relying on ledgers for centuries, using them to record and document economic transactions. In the past, rudimentary ledgers such as the use of the Ishango bones and stone blocks were used. However, with the evolution of technology, superior ledgers have replaced the ancient ones. Evan Freeman delved into how the Bitcoin ledger has integrated the fundamental qualities of ancient ledgers with the superior capabilities of the World Wide Web to become the first global public ledger.
“Bitcoin combines the time-tested integrity of the stone blocks with the information-recording capabilities of a ledger. This is multiplied with the near instant connectivity of the World Wide Web, resulting in the first global public ledger,” Freeman said in his presentation at the Bitcoin SV DevCon 2020 virtual event.
Freeman, a curriculum specialist at the Bitcoin Association, emphasized that it’s the transactions within a block that shape the ledger.
“Perhaps a clearer way of saying this is that the validated transactions are the ledger, and the blocks are the structure in which they are ordered and recorded,” he explained.
In today's next session Bitcoin: #Ledger vs #Blockchain, @BitcoinAssn Curriculum Specialist Evan Freeman will discuss the potential of the #BitcoinSV blockchain and its capacity as a truly global public ledger.
— Bitcoin Association (@BitcoinAssn) July 18, 2020
Since Bitcoin has no centralized decision maker, each node operates individually to form a consensus on the ordering of events. This is made possible by the creation of a digital proof by the blocks. These blocks consist of ordered sets of transactions.
Freeman also drew a distinction between peers and nodes, with the latter being only those that participate in building new blocks.
Once a transaction has been recorded, a node doesn’t have to store this data. Nodes use a data structure known as a Merkle tree to remove individual transactions from their record of a block and retain only hashes of these transactions.
Since nodes don’t have to store all the transaction data permanently, the users have the responsibility of storing their own data. As most users don’t want to go through the trouble of storing their data, a profitable opportunity emerges. An industry that focuses on the creation, management and archiving of transactions is emerging, Freeman revealed. This industry will create a market in which peers can find and then purchase ledger-verified data.
Freeman concluded with a call to developers to lure the masses through the creation of Bitcoin-powered applications that provide value.
He stated, “For the developers and entrepreneurs who want to be successful in Bitcoin, you have to be profit-seeking. By coordinating that profit-seeking with others, the greater the benefit for yourself and every other Bitcoiner will be. I urge you to leverage the Bitcoin SV ledger to build useful applications and services, pulling in more people to the Bitcoin world.”
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.