Ludovic Frank - Freelance developer

Bitcoin, understanding the decentralized blockchain revolution

ionicons-v5-k Ludovic Frank May 4, 2021
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Remember the 1990s? Remember what? Some of you weren't born then? Ah OK .... all right!
Back in the 90s, a "trendy new thing" was just starting to make waves, and for the most part, apart from a small group of geeks, nobody could see what it could be used for... that trendy little thing was... the Internet.
Thirty years on, I think we've understood what it could be used for....
For me, blockchain is a bit like the Internet at the time, nobody really knows what it could be used for, and in 30 years' time it'll be obvious.Today, I see a lot of articles talking about the volatility of Bitcoin (which we don't really care about), but very little about blockchain, so we're going to try to go into more depth on this subject in this article (while remaining accessible).

The current banking system.

I've got some bad news for you... Your money doesn't belong to you! There's no need to get worked up just yet - I'll explain what I mean.
If, for example, you want to give me 10 euros (what? What do you mean? Yes, it's TOTALLY random!). You ask your bank to send these 10 euros to my bank, in other words you don't give me the money directly, there are trusted third parties between us. Your bank and mine hold and manage our money.

What if the trusted third party no longer wishes to give you access to your money?

That's what happened in 2008, remember that little real estate crisis? "The subprime crisis? If you don't know what I'm talking about, I recommend the film "The Big Short".
This huge crisis was the cradle of Bitcoin and, even more importantly, of Blockchain technology.

Satoshi Nakamoto (a person or a group of people, we don't really know) gave the world this new technology.

Where Bitcoin is a "website", blockchain is the "internet".

The purpose of this analogy is to pick up on something you know well, when we talk about Bitcoin it's like talking about a website like Amazon, when we talk about the blockchain we're talking about the entire internet network.

Exchanges between humans are based on trust.

As I said earlier, when we make a transaction today, there are trusted third parties involved in the exchange. Blockchain technology allows us to dispense with these trusted third parties, while ensuring that the transaction goes smoothly and that we are the complete owners of the money received (us, not a trusted third party).

Note, however, that this only applies when you manage your own wallet. When you delegate it to a platform (such as Coinbase or Binance), it's the same thing: the platform is a "trusted third party".

It's for this reason, I think, that many banks "warn" against blockchain (well, crypto...), because it doesn't really suit them...

How does it work?

Think of blockchain as a ledger.

The white paper

For every new blockchain project, there's a "white paper", the purpose of which is to explain as clearly as possible the purpose of the project. Bitcoin, for example, has a white paper explaining its raison d'être.


If you download and read the Bitcoin blockchain today, you (or anyone else, for that matter) will be able to see all the transactions that have taken place on the network since the beginning.
Everything is visible, for all to see.

If someone comes along later and starts the blockchain all over again, they can see why Mr. X has so much in his account while Mr. Y has so much.

That's why, when you read that it's used to launder money ... then yes, but NO.

For one simple reason: it's all traceable. Admittedly, the addresses are long text (called Hash, in fact), but when it comes to converting the cryptocurrency into fiat currency, the eexchange platform knows who you are (it's compulsory, it's called KYC for "Know your customer") and knows who it has assigned its bitcoin addresses to, so it's totally traceable.

But if it's decentralized, can anyone write into it and "hack" the blockchain?

In theory, yes, but to do that, you need to control 51% of the network that makes up a blockchain.This means that the machine networks of large blockchain projects are enormous, and it is therefore impossible to control 51% of this network.
After all, like the current system, nothing is infallible, and we've already seen some glitches, for example on a lottery game on the Ether blockchain.

Looking at the bigger picture, given that the blockchain is completely decentralized and accessible to all, there must be plenty of attempts at hacking these blockchains right now and ... to my knowledge, no attempt to "take all the money on the blockchain" has succeeded.

Going further with blockchain

So, what we need to remember is that blockchain is a giant book, containing everything that happens on a subject and totally decentralized... But in fact we can go even further with things like smart contracts (I'll let you search on your favorite search engine).

Here are a few examples:

  • In an insurance system, policyholders are automatically deducted each month (yes, it's possible) and at the end of the year the surplus collected in relation to accidents is redistributed to policyholders.
  • Group a company's shares on a blockchain, each owner is clearly identified and every purchase/resale is completely traceable.
  • Etc. Any type of exchange can be on a blockchain.


I think we're only at the beginning of what blockchain technology will enable. Bitcoin is good, but we need to look further ahead.

Have a good week?