IBM Highlights the Differences of Blockchain Distributed Ledgers vs Databases
Ever since it appeared, the blockchain technology has started attracting the attention of developers around the world. It came together with Bitcoin, ten years ago, and a lot of people have been thinking about it as a technology that has only one purpose — to serve as an underlying technology for cryptocurrencies, a place where transactions will be made and recorded.
It has tremendous potential due to the fact that all transactions are immutable and transparent, which has eventually led to a number of different use cases. These days, most people who are familiar with it know that its potentials go far beyond only supporting digital currencies. In fact, blockchain can influence, and in some cases completely revolutionize countless industries. Serving as a supporting tech for crypto is just one of its use cases, despite the fact that it is the one for which this tech is best known for.
As mentioned, blockchain is transparent, immutable, and accurate. This is where all of its potential lies, as it can record large amounts of data, and ensure that this data is never deleted, manipulated, changed, or impacted by anyone in any way. This is important because one of the big problems in today's business world comes down to trust and precision. In other words, everyone needs to be able to trust those they are working with. Furthermore, they need to be sure that the factor involving human error itself will be eliminated.
The blockchain is not new in concept, and similar technology was imagined decades ago. However, it never gained a physical form until ten years ago, when it arrived together with Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin. However, because it is still a new technology, a lot of people do not quite understand what it actually is. With that in mind, questioning the nature of blockchain is the natural next step, and many are wondering whether or not blockchain is just a database.
What Makes Blockchain So Secure?
One of the biggest differences between typical databases and blockchain technology is that blockchain is decentralized. Every blockchain user has a complete, secured copy of all the records stored on the blockchain. That way, everyone can access their own copy of the data and ensure its legitimacy. If there is ever any inconsistency, the blockchain can rely on the copies of these users in order to compare data and discover the truth, which can then be corrected.
And, since the data can identify and correct errors on its own, just by comparing itself with different copies, it is easy to trust in its legitimacy. This is why smart contracts are becoming more and more crucial for making deals, establishing terms, and alike.
Another thing worth noting is that different businesses collaborate all the time, but they never share their databases with one another. Their databases are controlled and changed by DBAs (Database Administrators). The DBAs are usually paid only by one of two or more participating businesses. In other words, the DBA has an interest in seeing the company that provides payments succeed.
This might cause them to make changes which will be beneficial for the company that pays them, while the same changes might damage the other company or companies. Meanwhile, the other firm(s) might not even know about these changes, whether they are damaging to them, or only beneficial to the paying company. Simply put, there is a significant fear of corruption, which is present in the world of business for a long time already, and in many cases — it is not irrational.
This is a fear presented in all centralized businesses and institutions, as data is the most important currency, and yet it can so easily be manipulated by anyone who knows how to exploit it. Therefore, by implementing blockchain technology, collaborating businesses can eliminate points of failure, such as the DBA. No participant can make changes to the already recorded information without this information being corrected.
Not only that, but participants are discouraged from even attempting to make these changes, as all such attempts are recorded as well, and displayed for other blockchain participants to see. In other words, sharing data via blockchain is safe, reliable, transparent, and it can never be manipulated by anyone, no matter how tech-savvy.
Being able to trust the data can make a huge difference for businesses, as it will directly impact what they do, how they think, and it also created countless new opportunities, such as the inclusion of new participants. For example, if two companies collaborated on developing a new product after it is completed and ready for shipment, they can add another participant (a shipping firm) to the blockchain, and ensure that all shipments are constantly tracked.
It is easy to understand why blockchain technology might be considered to be just another form of a database, but it is also clear that it is much more than that. It is technology that can guarantee truth, which is something entirely new in the world of business and transactions. This is also why it has the potential to eliminate fraud and scams, corporate corruption, and other issues that are plaguing the world of business.