Writing a Blockchain in Node.js

Writing a Blockchain in Node.js

For example, Blockchain is a scorching topic in computer science these days. It becomes famous in 2008 thanks to the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, which (as you may know) uses a Blockchain to record every transaction into a public distributed ledger. Writing a Blockchain in Node.js

Writing a functional Blockchain from scratch has never been so easy.

Blockchain is a scorching topic in computer science these days. It becomes famous in 2008 thanks to the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, which (as you may know) uses a Blockchain to record every transaction into a public distributed ledger. But… how much do we know about Blockchain? I mean, what if we want to understand how Blockchain works and what makes it so powerful? How should we start? Let’s begin with the basics!

What is a Blockchain?

A Blockchain is literally a chain of blocks, where a block is a piece of information stored inside a public database, the chain. In JavaScript, we can think of blocks as an object:

{
  timestamp:    1568468720410,
  data:         "I am a block",
  previousHash: "2510c39011c5be704182423e3a695e91",
  hash:         "363b122c528f54df4a0446b6bab05515"
}

now, let’s analyze the block above:

  • timestamp: the timestamp of the block creation.
  • data: the data contained inside the block. It can be anything: an object, string, number… we usually store transaction data inside of this part of our block.
  • hash: the current block hash. Represents the data contained inside the block. If we edit any of the content inside this block, our hash will change.
  • previousHash: a hash representing the previous block.

Wait, wait, wait! Previous block? Yes! The key feature of Blockchain, in fact, is that every block of the chain must contain data representing the previous block. That way, if you want to modify one block, you have to recalculate the entire chain, which (we’ll see how later on) can be really difficult (if not impossible). For that reason, we can say that the Blockchain is an immutable structure.

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