DEV Community

Cover image for Explain Blockchain like I am Five
Helitha Rupasinghe
Helitha Rupasinghe

Posted on • Updated on

Explain Blockchain like I am Five

Top comments (34)

Collapse
 
nombrekeff profile image
Keff

Well, I don't think it's a topic you can explain to a five year old, but I will try. I hope you're a smart 5 year old xD

It's a decentralized system, which means that instead of having all the data in one server (or multiple, but operated by a single entity) they are distributed across multiple entities (called nodes), which all need to be synced.

Blockchain usually refers to decentralized systems for alternative currencies, instead of currencies being managed by banks or centralized authorities, they're managed and verified by a network of nodes. These nodes, and what are called miners are in charged of verifying the transactions by running some algorithm. Once you make a transaction they can't be modified, giving us a greater level of trust in the system (kinda).

All the transactions are stored in a chain of blocks, therefor the name, which just means that from any transaction you can follow the chain all the way up to the point where the coins where created (minted). A complete history of all the transactions and movements are stored, so we can track anything in the system.

One negative aspect of this is that currently everyone can speculate with these currencies, making them really unstable and not usable in most cases.

It's a really smart tech, but the use-cases are kinda crap at the moment, and I have not talked about NFTs... which are some of the worst use-cases IMHO.

My tip would be: don't get dragged into this world, it's not worth it for now. Let's see how they evolved and mature and maybe they become useful.

PR: I tried, but it's quite a complex topic to simplify πŸ˜…

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

Thank you for posting this! πŸ‘

Collapse
 
facundocorradini profile image
Facundo Corradini

Like you're five? That's easy: a blockchain is a Lego tower where different people get to write stuff on the Lego blocks.

Like you're a crypto bro? even easier. It'S tHe FuTuRe Of EvErYtHiNg

Like you're an actual, able-minded human being? It's a structure designed to simplify venture capitals getting ahold of the working people's savings avoiding any kind of control or guarantee from the State and other institutions, all while generating ridiculously gains for the electrical companies that they own and therefore destroying the planet like there's literally no tomorrow.

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

Love this explanation!

Collapse
 
polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Distributed database built upon democratic philosophy and cryptographic technology. 100,000 times slower than everything else, but still interesting because of replications and cryptography ensuring truth …

Now ofc, I’ll need to explain crypto and philosophy πŸ˜‚

Collapse
 
jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (jmfayard.dev) • Edited

Libertarian* philosophy, aka anti-central bank for bitcoin, which is weird niche thing to worry about.
Not democratic because the people don't have authority to deliberate democratically and change the laws governing the blockchain. It's usually a handful of oligarchs running expensive specialized hardware and polluting like crazy at the expense of everyone else who do.

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

Thank you for sharing!

Collapse
 
thi3rry profile image
Thierry Poinot • Edited

Let's suppose that each day you call 5 of your blockchain friends, each days you take note about people contact you to exchange pokemon card.
You have to inform your friends about pokemon cards transactions, but you also have to take care about your friends pokemon transactions about people that contact them. After you take all transaction and put them into the latest nike air boxe you receive.
You tell your friends whats about in the box and send them another box with the same content.
You can't find another copy of thing that in the box.
You try to send copy of the box, but your friend sent you boxes that are bigger of yours, you don't have time to sent bigger boxes than them, so you accpet them.
After all, you start to question you about the purpose of all of that because you bought the latest tesla brain chip and you still sent smaller boxes than your friends.
You become cray, you start playing to monopoly and enjoy time with people, real people.
So, You ask your parents for time in front of the latest apple screen because your dopamine is close to zero, but they tell you things about a simple concept call "real life".
You don't understand and go to bed just to forget all this journey, and restart all necessary task about blockchain tomorrow.

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

Love this! πŸ”₯

Collapse
 
entrptaher profile image
Md. Abu Taher πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

I asked the ChatGPT.

Explain Blockchain like I am Five

Sure! A blockchain is a kind of computer program that's used to store and keep track of information. It's like a big list of data that lots of people can see and add to, but no one can change or remove anything from once it's been put on there. This makes it really secure, because even if someone tries to mess with the information, everyone else can see that it's wrong and it won't be added to the list. So it's a way of making sure that the information stays accurate and can be trusted.

But it's not easy to understand for a five years old

You're right, it's not easy to understand for anyone, let alone a five-year-old! But here's a simpler way to think about it:

Imagine that you and your friends are playing a game where you each have a piece of paper, and you take turns writing numbers on your papers. Every time someone writes a new number, they show it to everyone else and they all write it down on their own papers. This way, everyone has the same numbers on their papers and they can trust that they're all the same. That's kind of like how a blockchain works.

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

Didn't see that coming!

Collapse
 
mlkm594 profile image
Mila Kim • Edited

Here it goes:

  • It's a long train we all love to play.
  • The train has many wagons.
  • It carries toys to poor kids.
  • The train goes choo-choo.

  • Then, the next station comes.

  • People want to put more toys.

  • The train gets checked.

  • One check. Next check.

  • The train has passed it.

  • The train goes choo-choo.

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

love this πŸ”₯ comment!

Collapse
 
bacloud22 profile image
aben

Blockchain is mathematics with no real use

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

why it has no real use? Would you be able to explain the second part?

Collapse
 
bacloud22 profile image
aben • Edited

Ok friend, this is my opinion because it might be so exotique to some.
But first let me correct my statement, it is impressive mathematics and could have it's usage. As we see in Blockchains and decentralised contracts.
Once upon a time, humans exchanged favours and values, you give me meat because you have good meat and I give you bread instead. That's raw value.
Then we wanted to make it easier so we created a middle universal value which was gold (rare, cannot be reproduced, solid to nature changes, and dividable to some extent: units). But we thought let's make an easier universal exchange value, which is money like dollar, and through democracy we have confident in people printing money to regulate it's value, inflation and so, so it always fulfill its goal which is an exchange facilitator (not value by it self, just papers).
Then comes bitcoin claiming it has the same properties of the dollar or other currencies. It is decentralised though and grows from nothing (by calculations which hurt the planet by the way) and it spawned from nowhere and very quickly and gained so much value. But did it get it's value properly? Yes it did it's rare, dividable to some extent, ... So we came to the conclusion it is real money that could be used and my statement was relative. But let's remember how it spawned from nowhere, some people somewhere acquired huge amounts of it just because they were the earliests, and one person or a group has a huge amount of it (Satoshi has 48billion dollars), and in real world who adopted it ? Nearly no body, you are not going to buy anything like real estates, or even go to restaurants with it. Only cheap gadgets and drugs and so. (I forgot you could in fact make an expensive ~~innovative project because of EU money, or this or that power hungry structure)

It is real value that comes with so much headaches and even pains. The crypto community is full of excited teenagers who are if you give them 200€ a day you are already making them broke.

So for me I don't like it, neither see it will persist. But again my statement was wrong maybe because this is like a feeling rather than a proof

Thread Thread
 
bacloud22 profile image
aben • Edited

I was talking about bitcoin and not Blockchain because bitcoin seems to me the most "useful" practical case.
And again I have this bottom up view, so someone on ease, could play and speculate with it. Someone on Uber byke is creating raw value and thinking if he could fulfill house electricity (in a "hot" world).

Collapse
 
jasveensingh22 profile image
Jasveen Singh

Child: Explain block chain to me like I am 5.
Me: but you are 5. ;)
Me: ok! Blockchain technology= Good. Revolutionary!
Crypto currency: Risky!
Crypto influencers: Spammers! Stay away!

(You can't really explain Blockchain to a 5 year old. It took me almost 4 or 5 detailed videos to grasp the concept).

Collapse
 
abhinav1217 profile image
Abhinav Kulshreshtha • Edited

How I like to visualize it is that its a version of linked list where value of every node depends on its previous nodes, And every node has a copy of it's tree. Hence if one node is changed, all other nodes have to be changed. Value in this context is the payload+metadata.

A better but still very simple explanation can be seen at youtube.com/watch?v=SSo_EIwHSd4 (5 min video)

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

Thank you for sharing that Video! πŸ‘

Collapse
 
seek4samurai profile image
Gourav Singh Rawat

So I was recently writing my book on Ethereum, where I tried to describe blockchains and Ethereum the most descriptive way possible. And I'm also considering 5 year old is somewhat smart.

So let's begin with an example, consider you have some cash and you want to save it for your future use, the most obvious idea you can get into is using some bank where you can deposit your money. But as you might be knowing banks are somewhat vulnerable.
As banks save your account and transaction details in some sort of database or ledger, however any legal or illegal changes to these database would mislead banks about your data, as that bank is the only central authority that is responsible for keeping your money safe.

Now in the concept of Blockchain, it's also similar to some distributed database or ledger, where these details or transactions are stored. And any changes to these information are not directly applied, first there are some validators(or nodes), that will verify those changes.

This was the most basic concept of a blockchain, hope this was informative.

Collapse
 
hr21don profile image
Helitha Rupasinghe

Very informative! πŸ‘

Collapse
 
mellen profile image
Matt Ellen

You know how your teacher at school decides what mark you work gets? Well how would you decide what mark your work should get if there was not a single person assigning marks?

Imagine that all the pupils in your class had to decide the marks for each person's assignment.

The way you do it with the block chain is that everyone has a copy of the list of people who have done the assignment, and when someone wants to add a mark for a person they send around what they think the mark should be. If enough people agree then that is the mark and it is entered on everyone's copy of the list.

Why's it called the blockchain if it uses neither blocks nor chains? Everything needs a name, don't think too hard about it.

Collapse
 
ghostclonelol2000 profile image
<}:-{~ .A.K.a. DOOM

Block chains are a list of commands to do an objective, like the OS shell is technically a block chain, or even the command prompt in windows is itself a block chain; everything before where you can type is a block chain to get to whatever you are typing.

5 years old , long computer equations like a paragraph of a book or part of a story to get to a different place in the book/computer.

Collapse
 
manalijagtap49 profile image
MANALI NITIN JAGTAP

Nice one!πŸ™Œ

Collapse
 
l4t3nc1 profile image
Tertius Geldenhuys

It's a database with insert only perission or in other words a log file.

Collapse
 
khuongduybui profile image
Duy K. Bui

Imagine an exam where what most of your classmates say is correct is correct, rather than what your teacher says.