When you think about the creation of blockchain, you might think of the unknown persona of Satoshi Nakamoto who created the blockchain for the use of Bitcoin in 2008...
But how about casting back to 14 years BEFORE Bitcoin was invented, where 2 little unknown researchers named Haber and Stornetta created their own time-stamping service called 'AbsoluteProof' - where instead of using a digital public ledger to post the hashes of the stored blocks of records - they used the worlds largest paper public ledger, the New York Times newspaper.
This early use of a type of 'blockchain' is a very useful method of understanding the basic purpose of the modern use of its technology; for those struggling to grasp an understanding, I found this article put blockchain into Lehman's terms.
Instead of posting customer hashes to a public digital ledger, Surety creates a unique hash value of all the new seals added to the database each week and publishes this hash value in the New York Times in a small ad in the classified section under the heading “Notices & Lost and Found” and has appeared once a week since 1995. According to Surety, “this makes it impossible for anyone—including Surety—to backdate timestamps or validate electronic records that were not exact copies of the original.” Ethereum’s cofounder Vitalik Buterin joked on Twitter, if someone wanted to compromise Surety’s blockchain they could “make fake newspapers with a different chain of hashes and circulate them more widely.” Given that the New York Times has an average daily print circulation of about 570,000 copies, this would probably be the stunt of the century.