Looking for high-level answers on some of the mechanics behind consensus concepts
1) Can someone explain to me what peer-to-peer actually means, both apart from and in the context of block chains? P2P wasn't invented with Bitcoin was it? 2) What is a merkle tree and how does it work in the context of Bitcoin? What does it do? Why is this concept important? 3) In digital signatures, how is it possible for me to sign a transaction with my private key and not have it publicly shown to everyone?
1. Peer to Peer is basically an economic model where end-users who own a particular product make it available to another individual who might be interested in purchasing that product. This is different from B2P (Business to Peers) and B2B (Business to Business) where in the first, businesses sell to consumers (say buying an iPhone from Apple), or businesses sell to businesses (think milk factories supplying milk to cheese factories). A simple example of P2P would be cars being put up for sale on online platforms where car owners can sell their cars to someone wishing to buy them from someone instead of a showroom, eBay where consumers sell their owned items on the internet to someone who needs it, etc. So, yes, P2P wasn't invented with Bitcoin but as a computing term was definitely popularized through Bitcoin. However, existing platforms that used P2P include torrent platforms like BitTorrent that rely on users connected on the network for file-sharing rather than directly from a centralized server.
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