This chapter covers the basic principles of the blockchain technology. It explains the historical development and the different use cases of the technology. The blockchain technology is a relatively recent technology although most elements already have been developed in the 20th century. Readers are also introduced to consensus mechanisms such as proof of work or proof of stake and the main underlying cryptographic tools which are both at the core of the technology. This chapter also covers the various narratives which have shaped the development of the uses over time.

In addition, the chapter looks at the structures of smart contracts and the different types of tokens.