Blockchains function as distributed ledgers that decentralize and distribute transaction data across a network of computers. The transaction data is arranged sequentially in blocks that use cryptographic validation to chain themselves together. Each entry into the ledger is irreversible, and anyone with access to the ledger can see exactly the same transaction history as anyone else. Each block ...references and identifies the previous block through what is called a hashing function; this forms an unbroken chain. The value of blockchain lies in its digital audit trail, which provides an authoritative and incontrovertible record of events, as well as in its ability to provide a secure platform for exchange while reducing the cost and complexity of transactions. This, in turn, reduces the need for intermediaries and third-party verification.