At WellAI, we are fortunate to have some of the original blockchain mathematicians. That’s something we are very proud of.
We spend a lot of time on decentralization and data privacy, where blockchain is the key concept.
So what is blockchain?
In our ongoing educational series, Daniel Satchkov, head of machine learning at WellAI, explains why blockchain is like a beautiful uniquely chopped salad.
A blockchain is a chain of blocks, or pieces of data, uniquely “sealed off” so it’s impossible to replicate.
Satoshi Nakamoto applied Number Theory – which was considered a “useless concept” by many – to create the idea of blockchain.
The mathematical genius was to use the Number Theory to solve the “double spending” problem – the problem that, for example, traditional banking is exposed to. You can’t spend the same money twice. It is also known as the Byzantine Generals problem.
Number Theory turned out to be the key to offering privacy and freedom in technology.
Hash function (or ‘hash’) is critical to the encryption of the block and to solving the double spending problem. Hash is like a process of chopping up a mixed salad – which seems like a rough and non-creative action – but it results in a beautiful and delicious creation. That’s what hash is in the blockchain.
There are certain rules in blockchain, also known as ‘Proof of Work’. What it means is that the salad has to be “just right”. We cannot redo the salad once the salad is served. In other words, once the block is “sealed off”, we cannot create another blockchain and replace the one we “don’t like”.
Decentralization is vital for humans, in particular for providing data privacy in healthcare and other industries.