Applying Blockchain technology in global data infrastructure

Blockchain or “distributed ledgers” technology is a critical area that arouses a lot of interest in the contemporary world. It is a form of data infrastructure that arose from the digital currency Bitcoin. The technology has been praised for its domination in the decentralization of computer systems and data storage. Data infrastructure is essential as road infrastructure that determines movement from point A to B. Likewise, data enables decision-making.

global data infrastructure
Smart city with wireless communication technology and Internet of things. Vector cartoon night cityscape with skyscrapers and infographic icons. Digital infrastructure in town

Therefore, the data infrastructure should be as open as a superhighway and reliable enough to enable smooth transmission. Blockchain technology is a niche that should be looked into deeply as it can lead to adverse outcomes if misused. The technology is rising exponentially towards the peak and creates fear because of the hype. Swan, in his words, argues if blockchains are “as fundamental for forwarding progress in society as the Magna Carta or the Rosetta Stone”. The paper explores the truth that lies in blockchain technology and how it affects the global data infrastructure (Swan, 2015).

The foundations of blockchain technology

Blockchain technology provides a stage for data storage where multiple persons can view it, make a copy, and improve it. Contrariwise, removing information from the technology is very difficult once added. It portrays a form of database with exceptional facets. Blockchain technology incorporates decentralization of information to the internet, where many people can access it. It is unique as all the copies are harmonized to contain only one known truth. Blockchain technology properties can be broken into;

Shared read-the technology stores and shares information that many people can read.

Shared write-It gives an interface were as much as people can read and can also write in the database.

Absence of trust-the multiple users cannot alter the information added by other users.

Validation rules- The guidelines within the system are adequately defined so that every user can certify that the data is maintained correctly.

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Transaction Interaction-the records of every transaction rely and link on each other.

Disintermediation- A close person can’t impose access control.

Well, an application must meet all the above standards for it to require a blockchain solution. Most of the contemporary technologies incorporate all these standards, thus making blockchain the new talk in the town (Swan, 2015).

A Short View of Data Storage in a Blockchain

The data is stored as a series of transactions and can be added one after the other in an unbroken chain; notably, blockchain is regarded as an immutable data store. The continuous series involves subsequent recalculation in every transaction since the added data depends on the previous data, which cannot be altered.  This unique aspect of blockchain technology allows the detection of any information change in the system, which is automatically rejected by other nodes in the network. In that way, the users develop trust in the data due to the reliability of blockchain technology.

Blockchain distribution and data consensus

Blockchain technology distributes data in the system, thus no central storage location. The chains join through nodes and each node has a copy of the blockchain and enjoys the freedom of adding data to it. The extent of the system is essential and guarantees the immutability of the database. The trick relies on every node’s ability to verify and validate any information brought by a single note, therefore, impossible for a separate code to change historical transactions by adding information and improving the valid blockchain. However, if more than half the nodes agree, then information can be altered. Blockchain technology instills a resolution mechanism that decides on which new block to accept as multiple blocks are added at the end of the chain.

Bitcoin advances its mechanism by the use of an algorithm designed for the nodes to solve an intricate puzzle before deciding on which node to add data first. Multiple structures utilize various resolution mechanisms, which significantly affect the extensibility of the system and the amount of energy it consumes (Hearn, 2016).

Permissions in the Blockchain technology

Distributed ledgers are classified into various categories based on how they work, that is, “who can access the data.”

Public ledgers: This ledger allows anyone to have its copy and write on it. A good example is the Bitcoin ledger.

Permissioned Ledgers: It allows anyone to have its copy, but only designated members may write on it.

Private Ledgers: In these ledgers, only certain authorized users can access the system to either read or write.

Trends and observations in the Blockchain technology

Emerging platforms

The systems are custom-made and integrate both application functions and platforms. As time goes, new platforms will emerge that allow programs to come together on a mutual technology stack.

The niche leans towards technology more than real-world problems

Businesses that work with blockchain tend to revolve around technology. These firms are built by first focusing their vision on the technology instead of the end-user satisfaction. The solutions to various blockchain challenges are also developing trends in the tech sector.

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Applications of blockchain technology

Blockchain technology is being applied in many ways. The following are various areas where blockchain technology are used;

Building a peer-to-peer economy

Blockchain technology is being applied to create a peer-to-peer marketplace. A service such as a lock.it integrates IoT with blockchain to enable the selling, renting, and sharing of stuff that can be locked. Lazooz is also a transportation service that allows ride-sharing by the use of blockchain technology. Airlock. me, on the other hand, is an electronic security service using a keyless access protocol for smart chattels. Another service that employs blockchain technology is Weifund, a crowdfunding and equity platform based on Ethereum.

Document and Intellectual Property verification

The technology is premeditated to help in the verification of digital booklets. Examples include Blocksign, SealX and GeniusX, and factor services. Block sign provides a platform for document verification, SealX, and GeniusX help in IP certification systems and contracts notary systems, while factor is an interface for distributed record storage.

Monitoring supply chains

Multiple services focus on efficiency and transparency in the supply chain. The services tend to track goods through the production process. Here, blockchain technology chips in to link the physical products to digital properties. In the food industry, there is Skuchain that helps in tracking supply chain provenance. EverLedger also helps to prevent smuggling and insurance fraud involving diamonds by storing records of transactions.

Governance

Governance is another area that blockchain technology that has improved. The services created from this technology implement smart contracts to inform the decision-making process. One application is Colony, a tool that majors in consolidating distributed organizations. BitNation is another tool that provides a common platform for governance of virtual nations and organizations. The mechanism in the core of decision making is BoardRoom as it organizes services based on organization meetings. The other tool is Freecoin, an alternative currency for democratic social organizations.

Digital content distribution

Blockchain technology is also applied to decentralize digital content equitably. An example of services that employ this technology is Blockai-a digital distribution service, UjoMusic- a service aimed at decentralizing digital products like music, and ALEXANDRIA-a platform that enables users to interact with digital products.

Privacy and security of blockchain technology

The design of blockchain systems should take privacy into account. The system should not infringe on people’s confidentiality. The irreversibility and transparency nature of public blockchains makes them unsuitable in decentralizing personal data. The data is irreversible as it cannot be removed once published on the web and transparent since everyone can access it and verify its validity (Hern, 2017).

Consequently, there are methods employed to design the content of blockchain and the networks they operate while maintaining a certain level of information disclosure. The nodes can be trusted and used to withhold some information that should not be shared. The network needs to be protected against spoofing as a guarantee for the security of the trusted nodes. On the other hand, there is the possibility of encrypting data within a blockchain. However, if the decryption key is made public, then it can be read (Foundation, 2016).

In conclusion, data infrastructure is essential in the contemporary world. It drives the daily operation in society. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to create, uphold, and reinforce data infrastructure. Blockchain technology stands as an excellent way of sharing data efficiently. The technology protects previous data, thus no room for error during deployment.

Blockchains create transparency and trust between the government and the citizens when used in public audits. More importantly, the government should use this technology in the agriculture or healthcare sector to identify the problems associated with these sectors and improve solutions. A blockchain is a powerful tool in the toolbox that should be used appropriately.

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