What is A blockchain?
A BLOCKCHAIN Is A LEDGER THAT STORES ALL OF THE TRANSACTIONS EVER PROCESSED ON a NETWORK. YOU CAN THINK OF IT AS A DIGITAL FILE CABINET THAT IS VALIDATED BY EVERYONE.
IT IS CALLED A BLOCKCHAIN BECAUSE TRANSACTIONS GET GROUPED INTO BLOCKS AND THE NEW BLOCK ADDED ON TO THE END OF THE CHAIN OF BLOCKS.
There are many different blockchains. Each cryptocurrency and data storage protocol all have their own chains. The Bitcoin network was the first to utilize this technology, but many other projects have adopted it since.
Imagine a spider web. In the web, there are little accumulations of webbing that come together and act as glue for the rest of the web. This is kind of like a distributed ledger. Each computer running the blockchain program, becomes a part of the glue sustaining the network. This is opposed to traditional frameworks where one central entity was in control of processing and maintaining the network.
Mining and validation
Each node (or computer running the blockchain) has the ability to "mine" or process transactions. Because so many machines are agreeing which transactions are legitimate at the same time, the network has inherent validation processes, ensuring that what you are receiving is in fact the right thing.
Any Data Type
The types of data that can be processed through a blockchain is essentially endless. It can be something simple like a currency transaction. It could be a fair voting mechanism. Maybe the bit of data is a smart contract and will act as an escrow service for another transaction that is about to happen. There are so many things that can be stored on various chains.
Because blockchains run in a distributed fashion (at least in most cases), there is no way to change the records once they are on there. Anyone can go look and access everything. This is a really big deal. Think about the banks, the government, and all of the other lies that have been coming up lately. No more, no more, no more.