The term “blockchain” refers to a digital distributed ledger system which records data in a sequential order as blocks of information. Each block of data is linked to the other blocks of data in which correspond to the information in question. Together, all linked blocks of data make up a blockchain.

Example: Suppose the title deed of a property were recorded in a blockchain. Every time the property was sold, details about the transition of ownership would be recorded in a block of data. Each record of the property changing hands would be linked to the record before it to form a blockchain.

The blockchain would be encrypted and copied to many different computers which make up the specific distributed ledger system being used. If you need to know who owned the property during a specific period, you can quickly access the records held by the blockchain at minimal cost and effort.

There are many potential uses for blockchain technology. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether make use of blockchain technology to maintain accurate records of transactions and prevent a unit of currency from being used for multiple transactions simultaneously. Many other applications are under development. The decentralized nature of distributed ledger systems helps prevent tampering by spreading trust among many different parties.

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Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at