HOW TO EXPLAIN BLOCKCHAIN TO A BOOMER WITHOUT SUDDEN DEATH IN THE PROCESS
by CM National Inc.·
If you are reading this, it is possible that you are a crypto enthusiast like me: one of those geeks who knows what cryptocurrencies and Blockchain are and how they work. But just knowing about these subjects is not problematic. It’s when the killing machine of life emerges and the battle of the century happens the moment I try to explain to my parents or older acquaintances how these subjects work and what they are for. The joys of getting nothing more than yawns or confused eyes, without even being able to convey less than 20% of what we really mean to say is taxing. If you have had these experiences and have given up in frustration in the past, this article is for you.
Many talk about crypto but few know how it works; the main reason is that understanding a concept that we cannot touch is somewhat difficult for ordinary people. So we need a good example, an analogy, something similar that makes us understand crypto from the physical aspect of our lives. A good example can generate a clear mental image in the interlocutors or in those whom we want to educate and introduce to this wonderful world.
The question then is. Is there a simile to crypto in everyday life?
The simple answer is yes: money, casino chips, ID cards or title deeds are all examples of crypto tokens. However, they are not Blockchain examples or analogies, and this is the hard part to explain.
There is a technology that is used by us on a daily basis, that we know exactly how it works and that follows the same logic as the Blockchain, and on top of that, you probably have it within arm’s reach right now. But, before I go any further, we will have to go back a little bit in the past.
The first farmers had a problem. How did they know when one season began and another ended? In order to better manage crops, they invented the first calendars, which later evolved into the calendar we use today. The same one that is on your phone, on your computer, printed on paper on your desk or on the wall within arm’s reach.
Thanks to the calendar, EVERYONE can know what date today is. And if we were wrong what what date we thought it was, more than one friend or colleague would make sure to let us know quickly. No one can change a past or future date. Every year the cycle starts anew, and always in the same order. The 2001 calendar can never be confused with the 2004 calendar because they follow an order, and if it is not followed, then the days of the week will not add up. The calendar is even vital so that we can decide when to take our vacations. And the most important thing is that we do not use a central authority to determine what day it is. It is implied who the authority is, the calendar itself.
Summarizing, we can say that:
-Everyone can have all the calendar information.
-All of us, following the rules of the calendar, can know the date of any day of the year by doing some addition or subtraction.
-We all know and can calculate tomorrow's date
-Every day is grouped into weeks and those into months and those into years, and then this will start again for the next year
If you notice, it is quite similar to a Blockchain. We just need to change a few words.
-In a Blockchain, we call everyone who participates "nodes" instead of people.
-We would call the calendar rules: “consensus protocol”.
-Instead of years we have blocks.
-All nodes can know if a block is correct, following the previously predetermined consensus rules.
An engineer would say that the calendar is: “a decentralized, peer-consensual system for recording and measuring time according to a defined protocol” Or in plain English it would be “a way of recording time following common rules that we all know in advance about and how to keep the record; MM/DD/YYYY”
For the same engineer, the bitcoin blockchain would be: “a decentralized and peer-agreed system for recording and measuring monetary value according to a defined protocol” Or again in plain English we would say: “a way of keeping track of who owes who and how much, according to defined rules of how to keep the record in a book that we all have access to”.
But the parallels continue and it is incredible. Both technologies were developed by solving complex mathematical problems. Both technologies help us to generate agreements throughout society, and allow us to trust each other more. Both are temporary records of what happened between two people or the society itself. And the craziest of all similarities, both can have "Decentralized Apps" running on top of them.
The best-known decentralized applications of the calendar are, for example: schedules, agendas, holidays, birthdays and horoscopes. Can you think of any others?
The next time you want to explain crypto, start by putting the closest calendar in your hand, from there, you will only have to use your imagination to explain the analogy about farmers and their apples. Or more impactfully about the person’s coming vacation week.
Simon Krasniansky, CTO
OOO Studio Labs