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Blockchain: Know What You Need To

As compared to the times of analog, today, when we link information on the world wide web, we allow ourselves to discover facts, create ideas, buy and sell things, and forge new relationships at a degree, speed and scale that was definitely unimaginable and unthought of previously. Technology has been undergoing rapid developments and advancements, and the world has been radically catching up to the novel bursts of virtual activity.

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The first version of a blockchain based cryptocurrency innovation that laid the basis for Bitcoin, was envisioned following these principles:

  • A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution .
  • A trusted third party is not required to prevent double-spending.
  • A solution proposed to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network.
  • The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work.
  • The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to attack the network, they’ll generate the longest chain and outpace attackers.
  • The network itself requires minimal structure. Messages are broadcast on a best-effort basis, and nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the longest proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone.

This highlighted that there would be peer-to-peer electronic transactions and interactions, without financial institutions, with cryptographic proof instead of a central trust, which is invested in the network instead of in a central institution. This laid the foundational technological invention responsible for the advent of Bitcoin.

Blockchain has a complex, and rather diverse definition. Its meaning and purpose may vary in different fields.

  • Technically, the blockchain is a back-end database maintaining a distributed ledger that can be inspected openly.
  • Business-wise speaking, blockchain is the exchange network for moving transactions, value, and assets between peers, with no assistance of the intermediaries.
  • Legally defining, the blockchain validates transactions, replacing previously trusted entities.

Blockchain emerged as the next chapter in the history of the internet and all related technology. The past is not a precise or purposive prediction of the future, however, understanding where origins lie helps us gain an aware and enlightened perspective and a better context with regards to where we are headed, which direction we are going in. The blockchain is simply a part of the continuation of the history of internet technology, represented by the web, as it carries on its journey to penetrate and infiltrate our world, businesses, society, and government, and across the several cycles and phases that often become visible only upon turning the pages of history. When the internet was first brought out in the open in 1983, it was the World Wide Web that gave us its delightful watershed evolutionary moment, because it made information and information-based services openly and instantly available to anyone on the face of the earth, who had access to the web. In the same way, that millions and billions of people around the world are, at the moment, currently connected to the web, millions, and then billions of people, will be connected to blockchains. We should not be surprised if the velocity of blockchain usage propagation surpasses the historical web users growth.

Just as the web needs the internet for its existence, blockchain is dependent on the internet for its building up. It may be more decentralised and a more equitable version of the web. As compared to the web, blockchains maybe multiple.

There is a multitude of ways in which blockchain applications can be built. They can be built natively based on a blockchain, or alternatively be built on a web application, giving rise to a hybrid blockchain application.

Most of the major blockchain platforms have been developed via a transparent, open source, collaborative approach, including a good degree of decentralized contributed work.

With the blockchain, one could adopt a conservative approach and perhaps wait around until the technology matures and realises its potential, and then get involved, when all uncertainties and initial blips and glitches are removed. Patience is key, when it comes to blockchain technology. Some companies will inevitably and undoubtedly follow this route, while others will be more drawn and attracted to being pioneers and innovators who are willing to trade risks for greater or earlier rewards. There are two ongoing approaches for implementing the blockchain:

a) inside existing organizations, as an add-on technology;

b) outside organizations, by a startup who may not be as concerned with existing processes.

Here are some of the important things to consider, tackling important organisational questions, before venturing into exploration of the technology early-on:

  • The method and purpose, to organize to tackle the blockchain
  • The method to develop use cases, strategies and implementation approaches
  • Techniques to evolve from Proofs of Concepts to full deployments
  • The kind of documented benefits reasonably expected from the blockchain, strategic versus operational
  • The lessons being learnt, and mistakes being made, and rectification
  • The benchmarks set and measured against
  • The best practices that can be shared, so that more effective endeavours can be undertaken
  • Goals to hope to accomplish over the next year, or within a specified timeline

It is necessary to clarify on the thought that the blockchain’s destiny was just to infiltrate enterprise systems and replace intermediaries. There is a need to rethink that proposition, which was still in its initial stages. The blockchain’s purpose is to enable us to imagine a new world that will be largely decentralized. Decentralization does not in any sense, mean anarchy or performing of illegal acts. It means that an individual user is much more empowered and less restricted or dependent. It implies that many contributors, many beneficiaries, and many leaders are working in coordination and harmony. Blockchain is also capable of giving rise to a new cryptoeconomy.

Blockchain is here to revolutionise our future. It is patient examination over hurried approaches, that will help seize the day.

 

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