Bitcoin Basics: What Is Immutability and Why Does It Matter?

What is immutability
Blockchains need to be unchanging.

It’s not a surprise how many financial institutions use rock imagery in their design and logos. It’s not just a certain insurer who uses the Rock of Gibraltar as their logo; if you look at banks and how they sell themselves, you’ll read a lot about keystones and bedrocks. And that extends even to the altcoins trying to replace a lot of financial institutions. They talk quite a bit about “immutability” when it comes to the blockchain, and it’s much the same idea.

Immutability, specifically the unchanging nature of the blockchain, is the founding principle of almost any altcoin. Once a block is mined and added to the chain, that’s it. In fact, the entire structure of altcoins is built on this. In order to trade altcoin, you need to have a  fully up-to-date blockchain, and your blockchain has to match that of whoever you’re trading with. If they don’t match, the transaction isn’t going through. Similarly, when a block is mined and added to the chain, that’s the basis on which altcoins are awarded.

That makes immutability especially important, and threats to it something that keeps altcoin investors up at night. At the moment, the blockchain is unassailable, but as computers improve and decryption software is everywhere, the immutability of the blockchain is going to need to be reevaluated and possibly updated. So if you’re considering investing in altcoins, keep an eye on immutability and concerns about the blockchain. Your wallet, digital or otherwise, will thank you. To learn more about immutability, subscribe to the Bitcoin Market Journal newsletter!

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