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Surely you have heard the term peer-to-peer. If you don’t know what it means, we will tell you in this publication.
A Peer-to-Peer network is based on a group of machines or individuals participating in the network in a decentralized manner. In this network, the parties operate autonomously, responding to a common protocol without a central point of connection. With this technology, network users can exchange information with each other without intermediaries and in a totally decentralized manner.
All computers are part of the same network and share their data. In these networks the computers make use of the distributed architecture.
Each member forms a node and each node is exactly the same as the rest, that is to say, it has the same functions and rights. There are no privileges and since it is a decentralized network, there is no central administrator.
Origin of P2P networks
The origin of Peer-to-Peer networks dates back to 1980 when the Unix to Unix Copy Protocol or UUCP was created. Thanks to these protocols came the still active USENET and BBS networks.
The operation of these networks is simple, since it is based on a modem connection, but something new was already included, communication between machines. Thanks to the UUCP protocol, one machine could communicate its objective to the other and share process information. The most striking thing is that all this was possible without the use of the Internet.
At this time, USENET and UUCP were the jewel of communications. They even gave rise to the well-known Cyberpunk movement and many of the characters we know from this movement such as Eric Hughes or Timothy C. May used these systems to share information on BBSs.
In 1983, the TCP/IP protocols were introduced with the aim of making the creation of global networks more flexible. Subsequently, the OSI system was established in 1989 and the WWW in 1990. Thanks to these three elements, the Internet was created and with it one of the greatest advances in network technology, Peer-to-Peer.
Bitcoin and peer-to-peer networks
P2P networks are present in all kinds of platforms, but there is one more important one, Bitcoin. Bitcoin itself is a Peer-to-Peer network where a user downloads a computer program and thus becomes part of a common network.
Each computer that is part of the platform is called a Node. These are in charge of managing what we know as blockchain.
The blockchain is the ledger where all transactions made on the Bitcoin blockchain are recorded and stored. Transactions in the chain are stored in the nodes of the network (which are not few). For this reason, the blockchain deals with immutable data that is impossible to manipulate. They cannot be changed, leaving no possibility of forgery.
Being a P2P network, each node contains a copy of the blockchain and once the blockchain is updated the rest of the computers or nodes also update it, creating a fully decentralized accounting record with each and every Bitcoin transaction.
As we explained in our article on How to mine Bitcoin? these computers can also be miners and fulfill the duty of verifying the transactions made on the platform. They are incentivized when they manage to verify a transaction and receive BTC when they manage to decipher mathematical problems.
Thanks to these nodes or miners, the network remains stable at all times and at all hours. This makes it possible to send and receive Bitcoins 24 hours a day. For this, only the confirmation of a node is required and the payment can be made.
When sending Bitcoins a minimum number of confirmations is required. Generally there are 3 to 6 confirmations and each one takes about 10 minutes depending on the commission paid by the user. The commission is equivalent to priority, so the higher the commission, the more priority our transaction receives.