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Jargon: Exploring the language of the blockchain industry

Welcome to the second episode of Jargon, the new show from Digital Trends that deciphers the complex language of various industries into words and concepts the rest of us can understand. We’re live each Tuesday to explain a different set of jargon from a different industry.

On this episode, host Myq Kaplan welcomes guest Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of Blockchain Solution for IBM, to unblock the confusing world of blockchains. Gopinath has worked with blockchain technology for over four years, and he brings his expertise to explain a technology he says has “a huge potential to transform many industries.”

During their conversation, Kaplan and Gopinath hone in on the following jargon:

  • Blockchain: It’s a term most of us have heard, but probably can’t define. Is blockchain Bitcoin? (No, but yes.) Is Bitcoin blockchain? (Yes, but no.) Gopinath helps demystify the word and the concept using the analogy of a growing book of information that is tamper proof, universally accessible, and something every party can track.
  • Distributed ledger: Now that we have our blockchain, who gets to use it, and how? Blockchain is managed through the use of distributed ledgers. Learn how blockchains are synchronized and spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions, instead of having a central administrator or centralized data storage.
  • Algorithm: No two blockchains are alike. Each one is created to serve a specific purpose, and that purpose is determined by an algorithm. The algorithm for a cryptocurrency will be much different than the algorithm that shapes your Instagram feed.
  • Fork: Much like a road branching off into different directions, blockchains can fork off from their initial purpose to produce newly specified results. Gopinath again uses the simple analogy of updating a book into different languages to help familiarize a complex process.
  • Node: Each blockchain is different, and each has different sets of computers, software, and other technologies that drive that specific chain. Gopinath breaks down what all goes into each node.

Join us next week to break down the jargon of computer hardware, from GPUs to USBs and SSDs. It will be both academic and acronymic. TTYL!

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