If you have heard about cryptocurrencies or you read articles from the technological world, you must have heard or read the word-blockchain. Its the latest buzzword that almost everyone is using in some way or the other. But the real question here is- what is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a list of records that is ever-growing as more and more data is added in the list. This growing list of records is known as blocks that are linked together with the help of cryptography( a way to prevent public or third parties from reading the transactions/messages). Every block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, timestamp, and transaction data of the chain.
Blockchain is an “open, distributed ledger” which can record transactions that take place between two parties and these records cannot be tampered individually, to make any changes, the subsequent blocks will have to be altered as well. This system was invented by a person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 when Bitcoin was launched. The cryptocurrency was based on this blockchain platform to avoid the involvement of any third party in it.
This system of Blockchain has inspired many companies and applications to use Blockchain and many cryptocurrencies that were launched after Bitcoin have adopted this technology. So to conclude this, Blockchain is a type of technology that was introduced to record the transactions that take place between two parties, which makes it a peer-to-peer network model.
The fundamental working pillars of blockchain technology are decentralization, transparency, and immutability. Decentralization makes every person in the network, the owner of the information stored. Transparency, while keeping a person’s identity secure, allows the people on the network to see the details of the transactions. Immutability in Blockchain’s context means that once something is stored in the record of Blockchain, it cannot be altered by anyone.
Blockchain for Dummies
If you were not able to understand the slightly complicated definition of Blockchain, let us try to help you out with a much simpler explanation for learning blockchain, along with an example.
The most important thing to know before the definition is that Blockchain is not a cryptocurrency, Blockchain is not a coding platform, Blockchain is not a python library, a machine learning language, or an IA.
Blockchain is a sequence of blocks or transactions which are distributed among the users once they are done. They don’t rely on any external authority as they are public technology, so no individual owns it. The most common use is to carry out cryptocurrency transactions through Blockchain, but it can be used to store any information in the blocks.
For example, imagine an MS Excel Spreadsheet which contains specific data. This sheet is then shared with other users that are present on the same network, and the person gets a copy of the sheet. This spreadsheet contains information about the transactions that are carried out by the people, and anyone can access it, but they can’t edit it. This is Blockchain.
Blockchain v/s Database
The database uses the client-server network architecture model, whereas Blockchain works on the peer-to-peer network model. Database administrators are part of the system that has the power to make changes in the system at any given time. Whereas the data in a blockchain is arranged in the form of blocks, and each block is connected to the previous one. The data entered in the blocks cannot be changed or altered in any way. In the database, the records are maintained by a middle party, whereas, in blockchain technology, all the records are made public.
Importance of Blockchain
Blockchain is mainly associated with Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, but this is like a tip of the iceberg situation. Blockchain is still a new technology, but since its introduction, it has attracted millions of dollars of investment from dozens of industries.
Blockchain works as a distributed ledger for Bitcoin and several cryptocurrencies to store the records of the transactions. Bitcoin is a token which is developed on the blockchain, which means that the token can represent any piece of information like a certificate, energy, vote, official document, etc.
Blockchain solves the security issues, provides transparency in a system; it is inexpensive in comparison with the traditional financial models. Time taken by transactions is less, helps to protect businesses from frauds, and the financial efficiency increases as there is no third party involved.
This efficient and transparent way also provides security wherever it is used. The blocks in the blockchain contain data which once stored, cannot be altered hence saving the data from any possible fraud or tampering. The banking sector has already invested millions in adopting a blockchain system for cleaner and safer transactions.
What is Blockchain Programming and How to Learn it?
Blockchain programming is the aspect of building your blockchain or a platform that works on blockchain to satisfy the needs that you have. Earlier it was introduced as public permissionless technology, and later its variants were added depending on their uses.
Blockchains were further divided as public/permissionless blockchains are open, decentralized, and slow, whereas private/permissioned blockchains are closed and centralized. Let us look at the list of types of blockchains programming, blockchain coding languages, and blockchain programming platforms.
Types of Blockchain Programming
- Blockchain Architecture Programming- before releasing a blockchain, its features and architecture must be written in code. For example, Bitcoin was coded in C++ back in 2009.
- Building smart contracts
- Development of decentralized apps(Dapp)- backend code for a Dapp is running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network.
Popular Blockchain Coding Language:
- C++ – It is the oldest and the most admired coding language that is still preferred by many coders to use for coding and development of blockchain. It provides a number of features.
- Python – Relatively modern-language, Python is the favorite for young coders as its syntax is similar to the English language. It can be used on servers to create web-based applications.
There are various courses and tutorials available on the internet that can help you in learning these languages, as well as multiple blockchain tutorials, which are available too for understanding the concepts better. Udacity is an online platform that provides various courses in various fields, and they provide nano courses in blockchain developments and other degrees.
Popular Blockchain Programming Platforms
- Hyperledger is an umbrella project which helps in providing tools and training that will be needed in the development of blockchain-based distributed ledgers.
- Ethereum is another open-source blockchain development platform that can be used to develop decentralized apps. These applications are based on blockchain technology, which facilitates scripting or smart contracts which run within the nodes in the network.
Various blockchain development and learning platforms
- SAP Blockchain Application
- Udacity Blockchain Developer Nanodegree
- Blockchain 3.0 by Sara Technologies
The Blockchain technology is evolving with every passing day as more and more people are working in the direction to make this better. Blockchain helps users in building a reliable and secure record-keeping system, and the future will get more comfortable with its adoption in every field.