If you have heard about cryptocurrencies or read articles from the technological world, you must have heard or read the word blockchain. It's 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 an ever-growing list of records as more and more data is added to the list. This growing list of records is known as blocks linked together with the help of cryptography( a way to prevent the 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” that can record transactions between two parties, which cannot be tampered with individually. The subsequent blocks will also have to be altered to make any changes. This system was invented by a person using 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, 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 could not understand the slightly complicated definition of Blockchain, let us try to help you 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 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 on the same network, and the person gets a copy of the sheet. This spreadsheet contains information about the transactions that the people carry out; 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. In contrast, 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 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 the tip of the iceberg. 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 transactions. Bitcoin is a token that 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 security issues and provides transparency in a system; it is inexpensive compared to traditional financial models. Time taken by transactions is less, helps to protect businesses from frauds, and the financial efficiency increases as no third party is involved.
This efficient and transparent way also provides security wherever it is used. The blocks in the blockchain contain data that, once stored, cannot be altered, 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 your needs. 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 blockchain 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++ is the oldest and most admired coding language that many coders still prefer to use for coding and blockchain development. It provides several features.
- Python – Relatively modern language, Python is the favorite of young coders as its syntax is similar to English. 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 learn these languages, as well as multiple blockchain tutorials, which are available for a better understanding of the concepts. Udacity is an online platform that provides various courses in various fields and nano courses in blockchain developments and other degrees.
Popular Blockchain Programming Platforms
- Hyperledger is an umbrella project that helps provide tools and training 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 running within the network nodes.
Various blockchain development and learning platforms
- SAP Blockchain Application
- Udacity Blockchain Developer Nanodegree
- Blockchain 3.0 by Sara Technologies
Blockchain technology is evolving with every passing day as more and more people are working in the direction to improve this. Blockchain helps users build a reliable and secure record-keeping system, and the future will get more comfortable with its adoption in every field.