What is blockchain?

Thursday 17 November 2022 06:00

Next up on our Web3 journey, a glimpse into the building blocks of this new dimension: the world of blockchain.

Missed our intro to Web3? Click here.

What is “blockchain tech”, and why is everyone so hyped?

A blockchain is a permanent record of information powered by a decentralized network of computers. Information stored on a blockchain, like cryptocurrency and other digital asset transactions, is validated by hundreds of computers across the network, and is publicly available for reference. The fact that the blockchain record is public and immutable (data cannot be changed once added to the chain) allows people to have confidence in the ownership record stored for each individual asset on the blockchain.
What makes this different from a normal database?

The concept of digital ownership has been a thorny issue since the internet arrived back in the 1990s. Most of us born in the age of the World Wide Web have grown up speaking the language of sharing. We copy and paste, we right-click and save, we share that meme we’ve seen for the 18th time, infinitely duplicating it with absolutely no idea who the original owner might be.

But on a blockchain, because every action – no matter how small - is logged, any time a digital item is received, sent, or traded, the blocks attribute ownership to someone. Think of it as the transfer market of Web3, with every new move announced to its fellow blocks and permanently logged. What this means is in practical terms is that we can now own digital items – and that ownership is logged, verified and authenticated on the blockchain.
If we can own digital items, who owns the blockchain?

A blockchain like Tezos - United’s official blockchain partner - is powered by a distributed network of computers spanning all across the world. No individual or company “owns” Tezos, because it’s decentralised. However, users can take advantage of Tezos’s unique on-chain governance features in order to vote on amendments to the blockchain, similarly to voting in a general election. This means that a blockchain like Tezos is owned by everyone who uses the network, participates in governance, and holds the native token, which on Tezos is called ‘tez’.

Discover Web3


We take a look at how the next era of the internet could enable United fans to feel even closer to the club.

What else can blockchains do?

The wonders of blockchain don’t just stop at digital collectibles and crypto payments. Blockchains have the potential to record player medical records, officiate transfers and verify authentic Man Utd memorabilia and more.

Is there more than one blockchain?

Yes. There are already over 1,000 blockchains. In fact, you’ll recognise one from the Club’s training kits – Tezos.

Unlike some blockchains which require a huge amount of energy, (raising significant environmental concerns), Tezos is energy-efficient. It’s also constantly evolving, and just like United, Tezos cares about its community and fans – by collaborating with them, it keeps them at the forefront of exciting blockchain innovations.

Digital collectibles explained


Learn how you can own a unique piece of United memorabilia.

Can blockchains shape the future for me as a football fan?

You got it. You might already own a digital item like a football card that you bought with crypto, or you’re registered and ready to claim the Club’s first official digital collectibles. In which case, congratulations! You’ve started your blockchain journey.

This technology is opening the doors to new experiences. Thanks to United and Tezos, you can get a taste of them first.