In a technology blog, I cannot keep on going without writting an entrance of Blockchain, the coolest word of 2018, and it is the new word in the tech world. Previously, GIS was the coolest one between 1995-2000, and Big Data was also between 2014-2016. Every body is talking about the new economy at s. XXI: criptocurrencies.
What is Blockchain
A blockchain is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger forged by consensus, combined with a system for “smart contracts” and other assistive technologies.
It is a distributed database, formed by chains of blocks designed to avoid their modification once a data has been published using a reliable time stamp and linking to a previous block. It is especially suitable for increasingly storing data ordered in time and without the possibility of modification or revision.
Blockchain technology is based on 3 main aspects:
- Data storage: is achieved by replicating the information of the block chain
- Data transmission: achieved through peer networks.
- Data confirmation: it is achieved through a consensus process between the participating nodes. The type of algorithm most used is the work test in which there is a competitive open and transparent process of validation of new entries called mining.
Differences between blockchain and databases
Blockchain technology has some key differentiators from databases.
A blockchain is a write-only data structure, where new entries get appended onto the end of the ledger. Every new block gets appended to the block chain by linking to the previous block’s ‘hash’ (you can check the Glossary tab for a refresher on hash functions). There are no administrator permissions within a blockchain that allow editing or deleting of data.
In a relational database, data can be easily modified or deleted. Typically, there are database administrators who may make changes to any part of the data and/or its structure. Additionally, blockchains were designed for decentralized applications, whereas relational databases, in general, were originally designed for centralized applications, where a single entity controls the data.
Next image shows off both concepts:
The difference between the two is very evident, so blockchain security is one of its main characteristics. Associated with this, is smart contracts, or intelligent contracts, which is what allows the realization of transactions between parties without revealing the content.
Perhaps, the most radical difference between the two is the immutability of the transaction data, that is, once the transaction is made, your data will not be possible to modify, which gives security and confidence.
How to start with Blockchain
If you are a developer and you like new challengers, you may want to introduce in the blockchain technology. I have started here, at cryptozombies.io, where you can follow a free course on Solidity, where you can have a better understanding of what blockchain is. You will have a new entrance related to the course soon.
As an aditional information, you can read this interesting article related to how blockchain is improving the global supply chain