Digital Integrity

 Distributed Ledger

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You are probably asking how is it possible to have digital money that cannot be copied or as the issue is technically known, so the same digital money cannot be double spent, known as the double spend problem.

Typically, double spending is managed through a centralized database controlled by a single party, to ensure each transaction factually corresponds to currency someone truly has, so they can complete a transaction. Like a bank for example you are only able to spend out of your account with your debit card, and your available currency is effectively the balance in your account, no more than that can be spent. Your bank manages this process by tracking the availability with your bank account, they are the central authority.

But bitcoin is different, what makes it unique is that there is no central authority managing the available account balances. How bitcoin accomplishes the digital integrity to ensure there are no double spends is through a technology known as the timechain, it is a distributed ledger. A copy of the real time updated timechain resides on all the nodes within the bitcoin network, at time of writing, there are 14,800 nodes on the network. Each of these nodes checks the integrity of transactions posted to the timechain to ensure the transaction corresponds to available bitcoin balance to be spent.

The available balances are called unspent transaction outputs (or UTXO’s). If there is insufficient bitcoin balance in a given UTXO to support a given transaction, the transaction will be rejected, and it will not be posted to the timechain. Because the nodes are widely distributed, there is no way for a user to influence or manipulate the nodes to accept an invalid transaction, in fact that would run counter to ensuring the integrity of the bitcoin network. There would be no incentive, even if was possible to accept an invalid transaction, it would shake the belief in the integrity of the bitcoin network.

Protection of the integrity of the bitcoin network is of utmost importance and the software is programmed accordingly to ensure its integrity is unshakeable.

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