What is a blockchain? It is a list of recorded information called blocks strung together in a chain. The block stores information about how much Litecoin was sent, who sent it, and whom received it. The transactions are recorded on the blockchain. In order to complete a transaction, two groups of people are needed.
Both of these groups use reference clients like Litecoin Core.
Installing and synchronizing with the blockchain, the client becomes a User Full Node. The User Nodes are important and provide several functions.
- Relay stations. Sending information to other nodes about transactions that are trying to get processed. They also help to secure the blockchain.
- Record keeping validators. User Nodes download the whole blockchain. Every single full node has a copy of the ledger, making it decentralized. Many people have access to the information.
- Witnesses. Only one copy of the blockchain is valid by using the process of consensus. Should two miners end up adding blocks the same time, the user nodes will collectively work together to choose which one is the real chain. The loosing chain gets orphaned and forgotten.
- Regulators. The integrity is implemented and preserved by user nodes. User nodes have the ability to implement changes in the protocol. (e.g. Segregated Witness) Most importantly, user nodes regulate and create mathematical problems that miners have to solve in order to add blocks to the blockchain. The difficulty is adjusted every 2016 blocks to ensure an average block time of 2.5 minutes.
Miners perform similar tasks as users, but can also perform the important task of mining. This means they create, solve and add blocks to the Litecoin blockchain. Using separate mining software attached to a specialized computer the miners solve mathematical problems which the nodes have created. Miners are rewarded every time they successfully add a block to the blockchain.
Litecoin Core is Litecoin’s reference client and features ‘full node’ capabilities to fully download and validate the blockchain. Litecoin Core is the most sophisticated client and contains all the protocol rules required for the network to operate. This client is used by mining pools, merchants and services all over the world for its rock solid stability, featureset and security. Depending on your personal needs, it is not obligatory to use the client when only doing transactions. Wallets are suited for this purpose and de blockchain is fully transparant to see all transactions via an explorer.
The Litecoin blockchain can be viewed from the first block to the most recent block using a blockchain explorer. The genesis block was created on 10th of October 2011 and Litecoin was eventually launched in to the public on 13th of October. Decoding the Genesis block will reveal Charlie Lee’s admiration for Steve Jobs: “NY Times 05/Oct/2011 Steve Jobs, Apple’s Visionary, Dies at 56”.
Litecoin blockchain explorers: