Blockchain is poised to change IT in much the same way open-source software did a quarter of a century ago. Blockchain is a public append-only electronic ledger that can be openly shared among disparate users and that creates an unchangeable record of their transactions, each one time-stamped and linked to the previous one.
Each digital record or transaction in the thread is called a block and it allows either an open or controlled set of users to participate in the electronic ledger. The ledger can be written onto with new information, but the previous information, stored in blocks, cannot be edited, adjusted or changed. This is accomplished by using cryptography to link the contents of the newly added block with each block before it, such that any change to the contents of a previous block in the chain would invalidate the data in all blocks after it.
The first major application of blockchain technology was bitcoin which was released in 2009. Bitcoin is a crypto currency and the blockchain is the technology that underpins it. A crypto currency refers to a digital coin that runs on a blockchain. Blockchain will help build more efficient secure enterprise models, optimize the ecosystems and reduce the risk factor.