Blockchain Basics



What Is Blockchain?

The Take-Aways

  • Blockchain is a type of database that stores information repetitively across a network to prevent any single entity from tampering with the data
  • New data comes is entered into a fresh block. Once the block is filled with data, it is chained onto the previous block via cryptography, which makes the data chained together in chronological order.
  • Every blockchain needs to consider three elements: Security, decentralization, and scalability. But finding a balance between the three is difficult. This is known as the blockchain trilemma.
  • GBA believes that blockchain can help solve a number of government challenges by integrating and converging a list of critical technologies and services.

Blockchain is a decentralized system of recording information that is oftentimes a public, digital ledger consisting of records called “blocks”, which are recorded way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain.

For a blockchain to operate, it requires a common consensus mechanism. These are protocols that make sure all nodes are synchronized with each other and agree on transactions. the most popular ones are
“proof of work” (btc) and “proof of stake” (eth)
but there are many others and will be many more. 

When choosing a consensus protocol, every blockchain needs to balance Security, decentralization, and scalability. The Blockchain Trilemma addresses the challenges developers face in creating a blockchain that is scalable, decentralized, and secure while finding a balance between the three is difficult it has led to some interesting solutions.

Private blockchains have been proposed for business and government use as one potential solution. Other suggested solutions like side chains reduce the volume of transactions on a blockchain network by grouping them together to address scalability, and developers who are building new networks have the opportunity to look into evolving on current consensus mechanisms to make them more efficient.

The government will clearly have a role, at the international level, the federal level, state and providence, and even the local level, too.  It seems like almost everything that could be considered a possible use case for blockchain, is now being considered, from voting management to cross-border refugee identity and citizen identification (think about the presidential elections and vote-counting challenges as well as refugee challenges in the past twenty years).  

GBA will convene governments and those who desire to lead, follow, or even simply monitor the same, and bring blockchain’s implications out into the open.  As an association of members who care about this emerging solution-set, there is a validated need for transparent and honest dialog that balances its amazing promise with the need to use it strictly for good and altruistic reasons.

Government Blockchain Use Cases