At it’s most basic level, blockchain is a ledger-style database.
“Wait a second!” you might say. “There are PLENTY of database options out there. Why do we need ANOTHER one?”
Blockchain allows two people who don’t know or trust each other to exchange value over the internet without the involvement of a third party. It keeps a historical, time-stamped record of transactions involving things that are valuable. Those valuable things can be physical objects (like a diamond or a head of lettuce) or intangible items (like an ebook or electronic music file).
It addresses two key problems in any value exchange:
- It prevents double-spending.
- It provide immutable verification of the transaction.
And again, it does this without involving a third party intermediary, which means the transactions can happen faster and at a lower cost.
To learn more about how the technology actually works, via a clever (if I do say so myself) analogy about two people going to a ballgame together, check out the full whitepaper, Blockchain for Associations: Separating the Hype from the Promise, downloadable for free at http://bit.ly/2YwYIjn, no divulging of any information about yourself required.