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What is a timestamp? Timing the operation of the blockchain

May 19, 2020

The above also applies to blockchain technology. At long last, A blockchain is a chain of digital information blocks that is organized chronologically. But beyond that, the operation of the blockchain depends on the time synchronization between the different actors in the network.

And it is so that the decentralization of blockchain technology needs a strong and reliable timekeeping mechanism to unite the work. To achieve this, Satoshi Nakamoto amp; Bitcoin considering a secure time stamp mechanism for the network. This design is based on an instantaneous adjustment using the median of the time stamps returned by all nodes in the network. In short, all nodes in the network indicate the time that their systems mark locally, and the median of all these times gives the real time of the network.

To achieve that, Bitcoin’s timing system is defined using Universal Coordinated Time or the UTC standard along with the UNIX time. Together, this data enables real-time adjustment between the time of the various nodes that are part of the network. As a result, network time is as accurate as possible and becomes a resource that can withstand potential network attacks where time measurement is critical.

What is a timestamp? Timing the operation of the blockchain
What is a timestamp? Timing the operation of the blockchain

Furthermore, the implementation of this system enables, for example, that a block can no longer be repeated in the future. This is because network time is used to create a unique timestamp for each block. And since this temporary information is used for the mining process and the generation of block hashes or block IDs, each resulting block is unique in every way.

The timestamp is used in Bitcoin

One of the main uses of the timestamp is to set the parameters of the Bitcoin mining process. As already mentioned, the generation of the hashes of the blocks first takes into account the time stamp of the blocks. This variable allows you to add a unique and non-repeatable information resource that can be used to make each block in the blockchain unique.

The timestamp also allows you to adjust the level of mining difficulty within the network. This is due to the fact that mining is adjusted taking into account the average time it takes for the network to generate the last 2016 blocks. However, this mechanism also has another use and is intended to prevent dishonest miners from manipulating the time stamps of the mining blocks to gain a mining advantage by reducing the difficulty of the mining. It’s called Time Warp Attack, a vulnerability that Satoshi Nakamoto himself explained. and corrected creating an acceptable time range between block timestamps and network time.

In addition lFor example, timestamps prevent a malicious actor from spending two transactions by manipulating their customer’s time to spend twice.

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Information about a block in which we can see the clearly marked time stamp. In addition, we can also see the median time or the network time.

Another strange fact is that Bitcoin uses timestamps created in UNIX time format. These timestamps use measurements in seconds to accurately represent a specific date. Depending on their implementation, however, they can pose certain problems. For example, Older GNU / Linux systems that use UNIX time cannot display data beyond that. of the year 2038. Satoshi Nakamoto, however, programmed ó the Bitcoin timestamp system to avoid this error and delay it until 2106.

Related: Qu é and how Bitcoin mining works. Everything about how to mine bitcoins

Timestamps and other blockchain projects

However, the use of timestamps is not limited to Bitcoin. All blockchains use this mechanism to ensure the proper functioning of their networks. One of the most complex examples in this regard is Ethereum. This blockchain uses timestamps not only for transactions with Ether, but also for every token represented in your system.. The same applies to the various Smarts contracts that are included in your blockchain. The orchestration of all these processes requires precise time management as well as chronological and error-free actions.

The same situation occurs with other blockchain projects, regardless of which one you choose. We could even call it the dictatorship of the time because we simply cannot escape it and its scope.

This clearly shows how important time stamps and time management are in blockchain projects. It’s not just curiosity, it’s an unbearable structural need that will always be there.