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Overview

Learn how the blockchain authenticates transactions and distributes data to peers — nodes connected to the network. This course shows you how multiple versions of a blockchain are reconciled into one, discusses blockchain limitations, and delves into organizational applications of blockchain technology.

Syllabus

Authenticating Transactions and Distributing Data to Peers
-During this initial week we will start by looking at how the blockchain data are shared among nodes in the peer-to-peer network over the internet and how the interconnectivity of the nodes is managed.

Determining the Canonical Version of a Blockchain
-We will continue to look more closely at how nodes add blocks to the data structure with the goal of maintaining a consistent transaction history. We’ll also see that multiple histories can sometimes arise due to a variety of factors ranging from benign, but unpredictable, node outages to intentional malfeasance. This requires that the system have a means of collectively determining which single history is the correct one. We’ll explore two approaches to achieve this: the longest chain criterion and the heaviest chain criterion and practice applying the principles that we have learned in this week’s assignment.

Blockchain Limitations
-The blockchain is not a perfect system and indeed has its limitations. We will explore some of the constraints of the blockchain and address the issues that cause such limitations.

Organizational Applications of Blockchain
-We will finish the course by exploring other opportunities for using a blockchain approach to decentralize what have been heretofore centralized industries in which individual entities have controlled or consolidated information. We will develop ideas for applying a blockchain approach to industries other than cryptofinance.