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Is my blockchain a blockchain?

Your blockchain must have all of the following properties:

  • It's a merkle tree, or a construct with equivalent properties.
  • There is no single point of trust or authority; nodes are operated by different parties.
  • Multiple 'forks' of the blockchain may exist - that is, nodes may disagree on what the full sequence of blocks looks like.
  • In the case of such a fork, there must exist a deterministic consensus algorithm of some sort to decide what the "real" blockchain looks like (ie. which fork is "correct").
  • The consensus algorithm must be executable with only the information contained in the blockchain (or its forks), and no external input (eg. no decisionmaking from a centralized 'trust node').

If your blockchain is missing any of the above properties, it is not a blockchain, it is just a ledger.

@fulldecent

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fulldecent commented Aug 31, 2019

1- Merkle tree is not necessary. This is only used for efficiency. Mailing around CDs and verifying with SHA sums would be sufficient to implement blockchain.

2- There is contention on whether the next point applies.

3- Strictly speaking, considering the speed of light, no two nodes can agree on the full sequence of anything. Setting that aside, there are some blockchain topologies where forks don't happen

4- Yes!

5- This is true in theory. But actually it fails when computers are controlled by humans.

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