5 things you should know about blockchains

Talk of blockchain technology is everywhere, it seems — but what is it, and what does it do?

1. Don’t call it “the” blockchain

The first thing to know about the blockchain is, there isn’t one: there are many. Blockchains are distributed, tamper-proof public ledgers of transactions. The most well-known is the record of bitcoin transactions, but in addition to tracking cryptocurrencies, blockchains are being used to record loans, stock transfers, contracts, healthcare data, and even votes.

2. Security, transparency: the network’s run by us

There’s no central authority in a blockchain system: Participating computers exchange transactions for inclusion in the ledger they share over a peer-to-peer network. Each node in the chain keeps a copy of the ledger, and can trust others’ copies of it because of the way they are signed. Periodically, they wrap up the latest transactions in a new block of data to be added to the chain. Alongside the transaction data, each block contains a computational “hash” of itself and of the previous block in the chain.

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Should You Buy ‘The Division’ This Weekend?

The first, and most obvious question you should ask yourself is: do I want to play a game like this? If you’re used to more standard shooters, it might be an adjustment moving into a persistent RPG environment. Any MMO is going to have some repetition, it’s not going to have a whole lot of conclusion in its story mode, and it’s going to take up a lot more time than a standard single player game. So know that going in: it might look like a very familiar game on the surface, but the overall pacing is going to be a little bit slower. It’s the sort of game that asks not just for a a dozen hours or so while you play, but a more consistent spot in your gaming routine

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