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As we dive into the technical side, we begin with Protocol Theory because it the at the core of blockchain development. The "blockchain" is often talked about as a physical entity, but it truly only exists theoretically, dependent on the consensus of the nodes on the present state. Looking from this perspective, it's easy to easy why designing consensus protocols can be a difficult and imperfect science. In this section, we will explore the underlying challenges of any distributed system, get a sense of the additional challenges and requirements for early blockchain systems, and begin to see the new developments in protocol design.