How To Use Blockchain To Build A Database Solution
How to use blockchain to build a database solution Why would you want to use blockchain to build a database solution? And how would you actually do that? BigchainDB has answers. First Wall Street , then the database world. While most people are still trying to wrap their heads around blockchain and its difference from Bitcoin, others are using it in a wide range of domains. Is it hype, a case of having a hammer and seeing problems as nails, or could blockchain actually have a purpose in the database world? BigchainDB 's creators argue there is a reason, and a way, for blockchain and databases to live happily ever after. Blockchain technology, put simply, is a type of digital ledger which records transactions, agreements, contracts and sales. The technology is decentralized, which means that information is stored in computers around the world, and is constantly updated in real-time to reflect changes in stock, sales and accounts by bringing records together into blocks before algorithms 'chain' these data stores together chronologically. Blockchain was introduced by Bitcoin, which despite its oft discussed issues has illustrated a novel set of benefits: decentralized control, where "no one" owns or controls the network; immutability, where written data is "forever" tamper-resistant; and the ability to create and transfer assets on the network, without reliance on a central entity. The initial excitement surrounding Bitcoin stemmed from its use as a token of value, for example as an alternative to government-issued currencies. Now the separation between Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology is getting better understood, the scope of the technology itself and its applications are being extended. With this increase in scope, single monolithic blockchain technolo Continue reading >>
Blockchain Could Help Combat Mistrust In Scientific Process
Blockchain could help combat mistrust in scientific process Technology behind Bitcoin is not just hype, say advocates, but could prevent data tampering and improve reproducibility Scientific footprints: by putting data straight on a blockchain, advocates say research would become more transparent Blockchain technology has become synonymous with hype exhibit A is Bitcoin, a digital currency that uses blockchain, and whose valuation has, in recent months, been pushed wildly up and down by waves of speculator exuberance and panic. But the technology, which promises to use a decentralised system of online records to do away with the need for central authorities such as banks to keep track of who owns or has done what, could still shake up the often slow-to-change world of scholarly publishing, a conference has heard. Joris Van Rossum, the author of a recent report for the consultancy Digital Science on the potential for blockchain in research, said he realised that it was slightly overhyped. When I started on blockchain, I also had my doubts, he said. But since then, he has come around to the view that the technology will have a profound impact on the way we work, Dr Van Rossum told the Academic Publishing in Europe conference in Berlin on 17 January. One of the key promises is that it could help to create a unified, transparent database that tracks every stage of the scientific process, making it harder to falsify data and easier to replicate results. Currently, researchers themselves, publishers and organisations that track the impact of articles through citations and sharing all use software and tools that are separate, Dr Van Rossum argued: a scientist might write an article in Word, a publisher would edit it using specialist editing software, then citation data would Continue reading >>
How Blockchain Tech Is Changing Cloud Storage
How Blockchain Tech Is Changing Cloud Storage Speed matters. End users want fast, seamless access to content. If your site is slow, they are just going to go to someone who can deliver. Just how quick do you need to be? A study from 2009 found that 47% of users expect a page to load in 2 seconds. If it didnt load in under 3 seconds, 40% were out of there. The study was released over eight years ago. Eight years! Thats two years after the original iPhone came out. Today, we expect a lot more, we expect things on-demand. Your customers wont wait around for your site to load. They are not going to sit patiently as your images load or video buffers. Almost instant access to a global marketplace means millions of options they could use instead. It isnt just users. Google uses site speed on both desktop and mobile sites as part of its SEO rankings. Thats why Content Distribution/Delivery Networks (CDNs) are becoming an integral part of smart business setup. More than just your website speed, user expectations are spread across the spectrum. We want faster transactions, easier access, more intuitive interfaces and guaranteed privacy. The Dropbox hack , recent iCloud scares , the NSA data tapping, and the Amazon Cloud failure earlier this year has led to growing concerns about the safety and availability of our data. Lets say you use a service like Google Drive for all your personal cloud storage needs. When you upload your data to the cloud, Google saves the data in one of their datacenters. When you want to access your data, your computer sends a request to that data centre and voila: youve got your data. But, the data centre isnt always close to your physical location (or your customers/visitors location). This usually means delivery delays, something most of us would prefe Continue reading >>
Why Use The Blockchain Instead Of A Database? What Gives Tokensvalue?
Why use the blockchain instead of a database? What gives tokensvalue? A primer on blockchain and token concepts for beginners. I see these questions asked all the time by novice investors entering the space, either for specific projects, or as a general question. So I thought Id attempt to write a detailed yet basic explanation on the utility of tokens, and what justifies the use of a blockchain. Basically, blockchain embodies a lot of game theory and incentive models. In order for a blockchain network to be valuable or useful, it has to have participants in a network, it would be worthless if Bitcoin only had me and you using it, theres not much value there in a barren network with not much utility. In order to secure participants, there needs to be some sort of incentive to attract them, the most common method is via issuance or reward of the token used in the network, the more participants, the more decentralized it is. So why not just a database, why do these projects need a blockchain? There are a few key benefits to decentralizing things instead of keeping it in a centralized server/database: Having records and data decentralized, and deployed on a blockchain makes it virtually impossible for any one party to tamper with data or records. Versus how it is now, if you host your data on lets say, your computer, you can easily edit that file, before you send it to someone else, how can I ensure I can trust you? Traditional servers or data are generally centralized, making it a likely target for malicious attacks. Just look at the Equifaxs security breaches and other cybersecurity concerns arising in recent times. Instead of having a single or limited # of servers hackers can attack, decentralization via the blockchain greatly increases the difficulty. The more partic Continue reading >>
How Can Blockchain Be Used As A Database To Store Data?
How can blockchain be used as a database to store data? Currently decentralized blockchain applications have few options to store data. Decentralized storage options are: Decentralized cloud file storages, such as Storj, Sia, Ethereum Swarm, etc. Distributed Databases, such as Apache Cassandra, Rethink DB, etc. Storing everything in blockchain itself: Storing everything in blockchain is the simplest solution. Currently most of the simple decentralized applications work exactly this way. However, this approach has significant drawbacks. First of all transactions to blockchain are slow to confirm. It may seem to be fast for money transfer (anyone can wait a minute), but it is extremely slow for a rich application data flow. Rich application may require many thousands transactions per second. Secondly, it is immutable. The immutability is the strength of blockchain that gives it high robustness but it is a weakness for a data storage. User may change their profile or replace their photo, still all the previous data will sit in blockchain forever and can be seen by anyone. The immutability results in one more drawback - the capacity. If all the applications would keep their data in blockchain, the blockchain size will grow rapidly, exceeding publicly available hard drive capacity. Full nodes can require special hardware. It may result in dangerous centralization of blockchain. Thats why storing data in blockchain only is not a good option for a rich decentralized application. Peer to peer file system, such as InterPlanetary File System. IPFS allows to share files on client computers and unites them in the global file system. The technology is based on BitTorrent protocol and Distributed Hash Table. There are several good moments. It is really peer to peer - to share anythi Continue reading >>
How To Write Stuff On The Blockchain
Since ancient times, people have always tried to write messages that could last beyond human life. Today everybody knows that Bitcoin is great to move and store money in an easy and secure, but less people are aware that you can also use the Bitcoin blockchain to write forever lasting immutable messages. Some people use this awesome feature to write love messages , to share an important thought or to celebrate a special event . There are some very user friendly services, such as Eternity Wall , that allow you to easily write messages on the Blockchain, but whats the point of having a trustless and censorship resistant tool if we need third party services? Lets learn how you can do it by yourself. All you are going to need is a synchronized Bitcoin Core wallet and some satoshi to pay for the transaction fees. First thing first, start up the Bitcoin Core client and open the console window (help/debug window/console). In case you are using a terminal, remember to prepend bitcoin-cli to the commands of this tutorial. Before we can to anything else, we need to list the unspent outputs of the Bitcoin address you we are going to use. In this example I will use a personalized vanity address (because its cool). Now we have everything you need to create the raw transaction that later we will push on the blockchain, but we still have to convert in hexadecimal the message we want on the Blockchain. In my example I am going to write #GenerationBlockchain was here, but to give some extra visibility to the message I will add EW at the beginning of the string, so it will also appear on the home page of Eternity Wall (without actually using their client). To easily convert the message in hex you can use an online service . The hex of EW#GenerationBlockchain was here is 4557202347656E65 Continue reading >>
Restoring Data Back To Its Owners With Blockchain
Restoring Data Back to its Owners With Blockchain Blockchain-based social media platform aims to disrupt digital marketing. Before the Internet and the rise of social media, marketing and advertising was done offline. Brands and advertisers leveraged the power of ads, banners, print content and TV to target their customers. The process may have been more transparent, but it had flaws because conventional research methods to profile customers were imprecise and lengthy. Surveys and questionnaires used to be the norm. When online advertising stormed in, an industry that was once worth billions became extinct. With the advent of the Internet and social media, the traditional marketing and advertising industry changed. Paid campaigns on Facebook and Google have gone mainstream, leading to the materialization of a digital marketing realm where companies control customers data. Companies track consumer published content with the purpose of extracting information. After being accused of storing user images without consent, social media giant Facebook was fined $1.4 mln by a regulator in Spain for its illicit data harvesting activities. To put things into perspective and expose how vulnerable sharing personal information online can be, Equifax - a well-known credit reporting agency, was hacked this past September. Cybercriminals released the personal information of 145.4 mln customers, emphasizing once again that companies cannot provide full security. Whether we like it or not, increasingly more consumers feel insecure. They fear that their personal data is not safe enough to be shared. Things are not looking good in the world of marketing and advertising either. Agencies pay to get their hands on the data to boost their profits. The majority of average consumers are unaware Continue reading >>
Forever Isnt Free: The Cost Of Storage On A Blockchain Database
Internet Policy Intern at IPDB Foundation. Forever Isnt Free: The Cost of Storage on a Blockchain Database Cloud storage services work as follows: You pay a monthly fee up front for a fixed amount of storage space. During the paid time, you can use any amount of storage space up to that limit. When your paid time expires, you have two choices: pay for another month or your files get deleted. Your cloud provider only keeps your files for as long as you keep paying. Blockchain databases cant work on this model. A blockchain database must store data indefinitely, so the recurring payment model doesnt work. Data storage costs must be paid up front, and must cover not just that month but all the months and years to come. IPDB has developed a sustainable model for the long term storage of data: a one time, up-front payment that covers the cost of indefinite data storage. The payment must be enough to cover the cost of storage and the IPDB Foundations operating expenses. This blog post is a deep dive into the numbers that led to a single per-GB price point the cost of storing data indefinitely in a blockchain database. This kind of analysis has been lacking in the hype around blockchain technology. There are many problems that could be addressed with blockchain technology, but without an understanding of what a blockchain solution will cost, it is impossible to say whether economic efficiencies can be achieved. This post is a first step toward understanding which use cases could truly benefit from the application of blockchains. Before we dive into the model, lets outline some of our underlying assumptions: Conservative predictions: As a general rule, we have tried to keep estimates and assumptions very conservative. We would rather have happy surprises than unhappy surprises Continue reading >>
Putting Blockchain Models To Work Within The Enterprise
Putting Blockchain Models to Work within the Enterprise By Jennifer Zaino / April 3, 2018 / No Comments Bitcoin has made many people familiar with the term Blockchain. But many enterprises dont realize that the foundational pieces that comprise this model already may be in place in one form or another for internal Blockchain use cases. Though likely they have not been packaged together to drive similar benefits within an organization. These pieces include a shared distributed ledger, the concept of consensus, and the concept of smart contracts. Theres a pretty large gap on the education side of Blockchain, says Jim Scott , Director of Enterprise Strategy and Architecture at MapR . The company is making an effort to bring a common set of terminology and descriptions for users to be able to understand how to apply Blockchain technology in the enterprise, the most important and critical piece of which is the shared distributed ledger, he says. Whats been missing from discussions is the notion that Blockchain is really about how you organize data behind the scenes, a critical piece for mass adoption. This is really as simple as it sounds. It is a ledger, like used for accounting purposes. The key detail of a ledger is that you cant go back and change a single item without having to rewrite the entire ledger. This proves useful when dealing with regulatory bodies as the amount of work required to falsify information is immense. The distributed part of the definition is critical to business processes in that it ensures high availability and redundancy for cases like disaster recovery. The final piece is it being shared. MapR Event Streams (MapR-ES) part of the MapR Converged Data Platform thatintegrates Hadoop, Spark, and Apache Drill with real-time database capabilities, gl Continue reading >>
Blockchain: Is It The Future Of Data Storage?
Blockchain: Is it the future of data storage? Blockchain is the number-one trend worldwide. Still, there is a lack of understanding of this technology among regular people, as they are used to considering it from the perspective of cryptocurrency. However, the Blockchain concept goes well beyond the digital currency marketplace and bitcoin exchange . Most of us have heard key phrasessuch as: decentralisation, no third party, autonomous, peer-to-peer. Although, many people do not have a keen insight on how in fact everything actually works. Lets learn the ropes and figure out, whether blockchain is a far-reaching and ambitious concept or a hyped falsehood. Like the Internet, Blockchain technology deals with information, but it takes it to a whole new level. So, from now on, you have to understand that everything can be perceived as information, even money. (For example: Bitcoin, the first of its kind cryptocurrency , in terms of which blockchain was implemented for the first time, is no more than a piece of digital information that has a certain value that you own.) Now, lets try to piece things together and go through the key phrases again. Blockchain is: A technology, on the basis of which a certain network can be designed. This network differs markedly from any other networks we recently had, because... It is decentralized. (For example: any website is hosted on a server, that means it is centralized.) Blockchain network, on the contrary, is allocated among tens or hundreds of thousands devices worldwide that process the network. In this regard... It doesnt require a third party. When it comes to valuable information, a third-party service is, commonly, required to be the guarantor of the security of this information. Due to the fact that blockchain is allocated and Continue reading >>
Storj - Decentralized Cloud Storage
"Storj is like an Internet filesystem. Data blocks are encrypted and distributed across a globally distributed set of storage nodes using block-chain algorithm. It is quite impressive and much needed innovation in the storage space." "Decentralized file storage systems like Storj have the potential to eliminate high markup costs and market inefficiencies and provide a much higher level of privacy, reliability and quality of service than we see today." "The power of the Storj platform is its unique ability indiscriminately utilize the free capacity of a storage node, whether a single end-user PC or a massive data center. Storj is bringing an unprecedented degree of efficiency to globally distributed data storage." "Storj is a unique market phenomena. It sets new standards of unit economics for distributed data storage." "As a seed investor, we were more than happy to join the next round for Storj with a great line up of co-investors. We want storing files to be cheaper, faster and more secure and the progress the team has made towards that mission has been phenomenal to watch. We are looking forward to putting more and more of our documents on the Blockchain thanks to Storj." Continue reading >>
How Blockchain Can Be Used To Secure Sensitive Data Storage
How Blockchain can be Used to Secure Sensitive Data Storage Which service would you turn your attention to, when deciding on making a transaction? A pretty large number of options can be open at all times for you to make use of. Depending on your resources and preferences, you may refer to traditional banking services and make physical money transactions or employ digital services that provide cryptocurrency exchange and transfer. No matter, what kind of technology you opt for, providing information about your financial activities online will still expose your personal details and money to increased risks of fraud and interception. According to the report presented by ACI Universal Payments, 30% of cardholders have experienced card fraud over the past few years. It is no great surprise that businesses and customers are striving to hit upon a solution, which will heavily impact the way financial transactions made and eliminate the risk of sensitive data theft. Blockchain technology is considered a genuine breakthrough in the financial services industry today. It allows making direct transactions between two parties, not involving any centralized intermediary. uriously enough, the leading banks are now looking into integration of blockchain technology into their financial activity to track all transactions and make them secure. Some financial institutions, which have introduced blockchain so far, can now brag of the lowest fraud risk and secure customer transactions. What is blockchain after all? Simply put, it is a digital registration book, which keeps track of all exchanges ever made, including money, goods or property. Basically, blockchain technology serves for storing any sensitive information, which is to remain unalterable and transparent. The main blockchain pri Continue reading >>
Where Do Decentralized Applications Store Their Data?
Where do decentralized applications store their data? Now there is a boom in blockchain projects. Some blockchains are so powerful that they claim to be a platform for building applications on top of them. Applications automatically turn out to be decentralized, resistant to censorship and blocking. But is everything so good and simple? In this article, we will try to look at the blockchain as a platform for applications, taking off the rose-colored glasses. Blockchain (chain of blocks) is an immutable data structure consisting of a list of blocks where each next block contains a hash of the previous block. As a result of this hashing, the chain of blocks becomes unchanged: you can not change or delete a block from the middle of the chain without rebuilding all the blocks above, because the slightest change will require a rebuild (recalculating hashes) of all blocks above the changed one. If the calculation of the hash of each block is computationally or economically complex operation, then the data change in the middle of the chain becomes practically impossible at all. The combination of the new block hash calculation complexity, as well as the ease of checking the correctness of the hash, provides blockchain with a serious resistance to unsanctioned changes. This is what holds the safety of bitcoin and other blockchains. Thanks to this, blockchain projects can be publicly decentralized. That is, anyone can put the working node of the blockchain and generate new blocks. In most implementations of the blockchain for the generation of a block a reward is given - this process is called mining. And since it is difficult to mine, and your results can be easily verified, it is profitable to act only honestly. Otherwise, you will spend resources on mining, and other miners Continue reading >>
Storing Medical Records On The Ethereum Blockchain Healthcare In America
Building a Foundation for the Decentralized Web Storing Medical Records On The Ethereum Blockchain Heres an uncontroversial take: medicine in the United States is fucked. Not so much regarding the actual treatment of patients, but more the bureaucracy surrounding (and often impeding) treatment of those patients. Whether you believe in medical deregulation or single-payer nationalized health insurance, the current system blows, as 54% of Americans are dissatisfied with a healthcare industry that often puts the onus on individuals to coordinate their own care. Unsurprisingly, much of the conversation about healthcare in the United States revolves around health insurance and cost. Insurance and procedure/drug costs are enormous enormous factors in the quality and availability of the care people receive. However, in looking to improve the efficiency and equity of flawed systemssomething toward which I imagine the blockchain community is particularly inclinedit is important to examine smaller, less obvious routes toward managing and improving the system as a whole. TL; DR: We should all put medical records on the blockchain (eventually). But how would storing medical records on the blockchain work? What purpose would it serve? And, is it even possible? Right now, the truth is we dont really know what Ethereum can do. A lot of very impressive people believe the network and its underlying blockchain technology will revolutionize the way we lead our livesperhaps even save the world. Of course, that will take time. As of right now, storing information on the Ethereum blockchain is very expensive. Just in case youre new, or need a quick review, heres why: Most people think of ether as a currency, like dollars or even Bitcoin, but it is also possible to think of ether as the fuel Continue reading >>
So, You Want To Use A Blockchain For That? - Coindesk
So, You Want to Use a Blockchain for That? Antony Lewis is abitcoin and blockchain consultant and blogger, who previously served as the director of business development at bitcoin exchangeitBit. In this article, Lewis attempts to break down some of the more misunderstood questions circulating among institutions seeking to adapt distributed blockchain tech for alternative uses. There are good reasons and bad reasons to use blockchains. In conversations with people considering blockchain use cases, I have noticed common confusions arising from certain words. At issue, is that they were initially used in a narrow context (usually to describe bitcoin's blockchain), and are now being interpreted more generically for other blockchains, in cases where they may no longer apply. In this post, I hope to untangle some of these common misconceptions. Bitcoin has specific security features for writing data due to the burden of proof-of-work consensus . That is, in order to add blocks of transactions to the blockchain, you have to validate all the transactions within the block (easy) and then perform repeated calculations (called hashing) to find a magic number that makes your block valid and acceptable to the other participants according to the rules of the network (easy, but computationally expensive, therefore energy intensive, therefore expensive). This proof-of-work burden combined with the longest chain rule makes it expensive to mine your own subversive chain. Private blockchains on the other hand, with known block validators, may have other mechanisms replacing proof-of-work that limit the ability of others to subvert the chain. These rules can specify that blocks need to be signed by a limited, known list of signatories. The round-robin fashion by which entities take it in Continue reading >>