Exploring The Building Blocks of Blockchain

As one of the most potentially disruptive new technologies around right now, Blockchain has the capacity to cause a major change in established areas like finance and data protection.

This fascinating subject was the topic of January’s CoderForge Meetup event ‘Blockchain Tech: Part 1 – Disruptive Applications.’ The first in a two-part series of events, this meetup offered attendees a thematic explanation of Blockchain technology with examples of its use. While part two will explain how to build a sample application using the Ethereum Blockchain technology. Ahead of the second part, we caught up with the event organisers, Daithi and Enda, to find out more about Blockchain.

How is tonight’s event structured?

Daithi: “Firstly, I’m not a Blockchain engineer; I’m a software engineer. But it’s something I’m personally very interested in. This introductory meetup will be split into two. Tonight, we’ll be going through some examples of what’s already out there and hopefully give people more of an idea of what it’s capable of.”

Is the event suitable for anybody?

Enda: “While it’s a new technology, there are a lot of similarities with stuff that’s out there already. You’re not reinventing the wheel. A software developer could easily come along and understand the general concepts but without further training, the syntax and stuff might be a bit more difficult.”

So, what exactly is Blockchain?

Daithi: “Bitcoin was the first implementation of Blockchain – Bitcoin is 70% of what Blockchain can do. But Blockchain itself is actually a theory, it proposes how data can be distributed more securely than ever before. That data can include government records, legal records and even financial currencies.”

What makes it so secure?

Enda: “Transactions are bundled together and they form a block. In the Bitcoin network, a new block is created every ten minutes or so. And what the block holds is a reference to the block behind and then the next block to the previous block and so on. In order to change a block in the middle, you have to change every block behind it -which makes it really secure.”

Is there a lot of interest in the technology here in Ireland?

Daithi: “Right now, it’s extremely cutting edge. I think if there was a more structured emphasis put on the Blockchain topic in Dublin that it would probably excel more than anywhere in the world given the current environment.

I’ve also noticed that there’s definitely an interest in Blockchain within the tech community in Dublin and also within the tech industry here. As it’s a new technology you can’t exactly go and get a certificate in it. It’s only since last November that I’ve started to see courses covering it online.”

Get Involved

If you’re interested in finding out more about Blockchain, check out part two of CoderForge’s event. And keep on top of other Irish tech meet-ups by checking out our events section.