If you google the phrase “what is blockchain” you will get (as of 6/3/17) 17 MILLION hits. We at Blocktonite don’t pretend that we can offer you as good an answer to that question as any of those folks. In fact, we’d be lying if we said WE totally get it. However, we plan on building over the next few weeks a special section of our library dedicated to the best explanations we’ve found.
Having said that – here’s the way we think about blockchain in terms of “what is it for?”: it’s a way to allow a “community” who have some kind of shared interest (exchanging money, who has what property, where did a physical, virtual, or intellectual asset come from, and on and on) to agree on the state of that specific world (energy consumption, land ownership, money, etc.). This sounds dull – but it’s yuge. Take it from us. The best way to “get it” is to see how industries and countries and governments are thinking of ways to use blockchain (hence our attempt to highlight what’s going on in the areas of music, energy, state regulations, document management, internet of things, etc.).
From an “information technology” perspective, blockchain is an evolving foundational technological standard (meaning ‘raw’ technological plumbing) that can run on the internet. The internet today has literally hundreds of such foundational ‘services’ – most of which you experience but don’t directly interact with. Examples: “SMTP” is what your e-mail provider uses, “http” powers all the websites you access, “FTP” is what you are using when you upload/download files from somewhere, etc. You rarely deal with these services directly – but your PC, Tablet, and mobile phone is using them on your behalf. Blockchain is rapidly evolving as one of those core “foundational” services.