A friend of mine asked me some time ago, “Why do you need to understand it [the blockchain] so badly?” He is a software developer, and I have a background in humanities; so it’s always been interesting to me to understand the ‘technician’s way of reasoning’. This time, I was bugging him with some blockchain-related aspects, such as the genesis block and the coinbase transaction (the first transaction in a new block). I was trying to understand where the input in the block’s original transaction was — I believed the principle should be ‘nothing comes from nowhere or goes nowhere’. My friend said that there was no universal meaning, and that the technology behind Bitcoin is the way it is just because its creator wanted it like this. Coinbase transaction is really a transaction with no input — just because it’s a part of design.
That friend of mine thought I was some kind of a fanatic who believes in a greater purpose of something without even understanding it properly. The last part is true — I’m just learning — it’s also true that I don’t see the Bitcoin as a universal solution, or blockchain as a universal explanation. To me, Bitcoin is a smart system, whose logic should be quite basic and which draws upon other existing systems.
What I do believe, it’s that no human being can invent something that is not already existent in nature; there are always models.
The genetic code — human blockchain
Take DNA — what is it actually? It’s the genetic code. It is something that has all the information about us encrypted in the sequences of nucleotide molecules and stored in every cell of our bodies. To draw a Bitoin analogy, I would say that every Bitcoin node also stores information about the entire network.
The blocks in a blockchain are linked together in a sequence. Every existing block has a fragment of the parental block’s hash inscribed in its own hash. A block that follows will likewise have the current block ‘imprinted’ in its code.
The same happens in life. The idiosyncratic code that each individual bears links the past and future generations in a ‘blood line’. While one’s code is unique, it is also governed by the code of his or her parents. When a person has offsprings, his or her genetic code determines theirs.
Similar to blocks, all individuals of one species are different, as their DNA molecules/hashes are distinct. On the other hand, they share the same type of information and are connected with each other to some extent — something like a blockchain (with its sidechains).
Drawing the analogy further, I would say that the entire system is both decentralised and uses confirmations. Just like a newly-created block can be checked and decided upon whether it fits in, the nature has its ‘natural selection’. An individual might either fit, not fit, or initiate a sidechain. The same with transactions which can be viewed as individual traits. The latter should be confirmed to catch on. In this case, nature is more flexible, thanks to such processes as adaptation and adjustment.
I guess that there is a lot of other systems upon which the blockchain draws. This is why I find the Bitcoin technology interesting and worth learning about — to be able, through analogies, to understand more complex systems and their logic.
My point is that I’m not equalling the Bitcoin technology to the ‘code of life’. I’m just saying that the former is naturally and organically fits in with who we are and what we already know.