The bitcoin blockchain is a public ledger that records bitcoin transactions.[75] It is implemented as a chain of blocks, each block containing a hash of the previous block up to the genesis block[c] of the chain. A network of communicating nodes running bitcoin software maintains the blockchain.[32]:215–219 Transactions of the form payer X sends Y bitcoins to payee Z are broadcast to this network using readily available software applications.
According to the European Central Bank, the decentralization of money offered by bitcoin has its theoretical roots in the Austrian school of economics, especially with Friedrich von Hayek in his book Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined,[127] in which Hayek advocates a complete free market in the production, distribution and management of money to end the monopoly of central banks.[128]:22
Lightweight clients consult full clients to send and receive transactions without requiring a local copy of the entire blockchain (see simplified payment verification – SPV). This makes lightweight clients much faster to set up and allows them to be used on low-power, low-bandwidth devices such as smartphones. When using a lightweight wallet, however, the user must trust the server to a certain degree, as it can report faulty values back to the user. Lightweight clients follow the longest blockchain and do not ensure it is valid, requiring trust in miners.[96]
تسمح تطبيقات بيتكوين والتي يُطلق عليها أحيانا اسم عميل بيتكوين للمُستخدمين بالتعامل مع شبكة بيتكوين. في شكله القاعدي يسمح التطبيق بتوليد وحفظ مفاتيح خاصة بالمُستخدم والاتصال بشبكة الند للند الخاص بالعُملة. تم إطلاق أول تطبيق بيتكوين سنة 2009 من طرف ساتوشي ناكاموتو مُؤسس عُملة بيتكوين كتطبيق مجاني ومفتوح المصدر. يُستخدم هذا التطبيق -والذي يُطلق عليه عادة اسم تطبيق ساتوشي- كمحفظة على الحواسيب الشخصية للقيام بعمليات دفع إلكترونية أو كخادوم لاستقبال تلك المدفوعات ولخدمات أخرى مُتعلقة بالدفع. أما تطبيق Bitcoin-Qt فيتم اعتباره كتطبيق مرجعي بحكم أنه يُمثل الآلية التي يعمل من خلالها بروتوكول بيتكوين ويُعتبر مثالا يُحتذى به لغيره من التطبيقات. لدى القيام بعمليات شراء باستخدام الهواتف الذكية فإنه عادة ما يتم استخدام تطبيقات بيتكوين تقوم بتوليد و/أو قراءة QR codes لتسهيل مهمة التحويل والدفع. كما تتوفر حاليا عدة تطبيقات تعمل كخواديم تقوم بتأكيد الإجراءات التي تتم على الشبكة وتقوم بإضافتها كتلة تحويلات.
Ethereum enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. A decentralized application or Dapp serve some particular purpose to its users. Bitcoin, for example, is a Dapp that provides its users with a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. Because decentralized applications are made up of code that runs on a blockchain network, they are not controlled by any individual or central entity.

J. P. Morgan Chase is developing JPM Coin on a permissioned-variant of Ethereum blockchain dubbed "Quorum".[53] It's designed to toe the line between private and public in the realm of shuffling derivatives and payments. The idea is to satisfy regulators who need seamless access to financial goings-on, while protecting the privacy of parties that don't wish to reveal their identities nor the details of their transactions to the general public.[54]

Smart contract is just a phrase used to describe a computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Because smart contracts run on the blockchain, they run exactly as programmed without any possibility of censorship, downtime, fraud or third-party interference.
Another type of physical wallet called a hardware wallet keeps credentials offline while facilitating transactions.[106] The hardware wallet acts as a computer peripheral and signs transactions as requested by the user, who must press a button on the wallet to confirm that they intended to make the transaction. Hardware wallets never expose their private keys, keeping bitcoins in cold storage even when used with computers that may be compromised by malware.[99]:42–45
While it’s still early days, Mist, MetaMask and a variety of other browsers look set to make blockchain-based applications accessible to more people than ever before. Even people without a technical background can now potentially build blockchain apps. This is a revolutionary leap for blockchain technology that could bring decentralized applications into the mainstream.