Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Blockchain Fundamentals


We all may aware of one of the new industry that is growing and expected to grow much rapidly than current growth is Blockchain. Blockchain is not only to deal with financial transactions, which can be used for various use cases (Business Purposes) such as Smart Contracts, Digital Assets, Smart Voting Systems, Smart Securities, Smart Identities and so on…


Now, we may more curious why Blockchain, the key here is the Data Integrity and Distributed Architecture. Any data that has brought into Blockchain network is read only and that will replicate in to all authorized nodes in the network.

The fundamentals of Blockchain is to maintain the data integrity through distributed database in distributed infrastructure of multiple peers in Public / Private Blockchain network. Based on majority nodes voting mechanism it retrieves the data and provide, with multiple copies of data it ensures data availability as well.

It is important to know some of the basic Jorgen’s of Blockchain to understand better.

Basic Concepts of Blockchain:

A Blockchain is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called Blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. It is a public ledger of all transactions that have ever been executed.

A Block is the “current” part of a blockchain which records some or all of the recent transactions, and once completed, goes into the blockchain as permanent database.  Each time a block gets completed, a new block is generated and existing can’t be edited. If at all any changes to be done, then a new block will have the latest update with link to existing block for reference.

A distributed ledger is a consensus of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, and/or institutions

A Blockchain Network contains the nodes of Blockchain databases & applications that hosts the Blocks for storing the data. All nodes in this network authenticated based on the Digital Certificates and replicates the encrypted data. Typically there are two different stream of Networks are growing

  • Private Blockchain Network
  • Public Blockchain Network

As these technologies are open standards based on open source applications / protocols, most of large organizations and Governments are focusing on developing Private Blockchain network for their needs.

Alternative Blockchains / Blockchain Startups

Alternative blockchains, also known as altchains, are based on bitcoin technology in concept and/or code.  There are multiple organizations is leveraging the power of Blockchain technology to resolve the business problems of Enterprises / Governments. Some of the organizations and their focused verticals are below for your references.

  • Ethereum | Decentralized Applications 
  • Hyperledger | Decentralized Ledgers
  • Ripple | Global Financial Settlement

Today’s Reality for Enterprises / Governments:

There is no doubt that Blockchain will be major game changes such as internet which changes every individual’s life. Though the technology is growing and going to disrupt the entire digital world, most of these initiatives are maturing and developing interfaces for existing business applications such as Oracle, SAP etc. Currently most of the developments are in Ethereum / Hyperledger for decentralized solutions such as smart contracts, smart voting systems etc. whereas Ripple plays major role in BFSI industry.

Article written by: Natarajan Gnanasekar, Technical Manager, Alpha Data.

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