A blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically.

- Stackoverflow.com Wiki
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A live blockchain demo in a browser.

Oh Bitcoin, the darling of everyone’s economic dreams. Some think it’ll destroy the fed, others hope it’ll kill off the big banks. Some just think it’s going to make them rich, others go as far as hoping it’ll kill off governments completely. Whatever you happen to hate, Bitcoin is coming to destroy it!

Its failure to achieve adoption to date is because systems built on trust, norms, and institutions inherently function better than the type of no-need-for-trusted-parties systems blockchain envisions. That’s permanent: no matter how much blockchain improves it is still headed in the wrong direction.