The beauty of a public blockchain is that each and every transaction ever conducted through the Bitcoin network can be viewed by the general public. This ensures that no transaction escapes the scrutiny of the members of the Bitcoin network and can hence be verified as having taken place. However, at the same time, this does not mean that the identities of those transacting are revealed, as that would result in an unrestricted breach of privacy making it highly unlikely that anyone would use Bitcoin. The only data revealed on the public ledger is the following:
- the wallet addresses of those sending and receiving bitcoin,
- the amount involved in the transaction, and
- the IP address of the computer connected to the Bitcoin network which relays the transaction (known as a node).
Unless a person were to know to whom a wallet address belongs, it is quite difficult to track and trace the identity or identities of those involved in a transaction, making Bitcoin a pseudonymous currency rather than a completely anonymous one.
One website which lists the public ledger is https://blockchain.info; the below is a screenshot taken from the same website:
If one were to click on a transaction, the following data would be accessed:
If you would like to learn more about the blockchain and enter into greater detail, check out this great video on Youtube: