A Public Ledger is a transparent and decentralized ledger or database that records all transactions across a network in real-time. The ledger is open to anyone, allowing them to view its complete history of transactions. This transparency ensures that all transactions are open for verification by any participant in the network, making tampering difficult. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, use public ledgers (often referred to as blockchains) to record their transactions and ensure the integrity and immutability of their transaction history.
Why is a Public Ledger considered secure?
A public ledger, especially when employed in blockchain technology, relies on consensus algorithms and cryptographic principles. Every transaction added to the ledger is verified by multiple nodes in the network, and once added, it’s challenging to alter due to the cryptographic linking of blocks (or records). This decentralization and consensus-based validation make tampering evident and difficult.
How is a Public Ledger different from a Private Ledger?
A public ledger is open for anyone to participate, validate, and view transactions. In contrast, a private ledger (or private blockchain) restricts access, participation, and visibility to a specific group or organization. While both types can offer immutability and security, public ledgers are transparent to the public, whereas private ledgers are not.
What are some common uses of Public Ledgers?
Beyond serving as the backbone for cryptocurrencies, public ledgers find applications in supply chain management, voting systems, land registries, and any scenario where transparent, tamper-proof records are desirable.
Do Public Ledgers always use blockchain technology?
While blockchain is a prominent form of public ledger, not all public ledgers have to be blockchains. The primary trait of a public ledger is its transparency and openness to the public. Blockchain technology is just a particularly successful implementation of a public ledger due to its decentralized and secure nature.
How does a Public Ledger ensure data integrity?
Public ledgers, especially those using blockchain, store records in blocks. Each block references the previous block by including its cryptographic hash. This chaining ensures that any change in a block’s data would require changing the data in all subsequent blocks, making unauthorized changes computationally infeasible and easy to detect.